Last week we attended an IR Magazine webinar looking at Investor Days and what we can learn from virtual events held in 2020 and early 2021 to improve the experience going forward.
How often a company should host an investor day depends on its size and what it wants to communicate. Large companies often hold yearly investor days, some hold them every other year and others host an event when they have something key to communicate. However often you plan to hold an investor day, make sure you have a story to tell and a key message.
Produce a professional event by working with a partner with experience in executing successful investor days. Miranda IR can help you to put on an impactful virtual, hybrid or in-person event (when this is possible again).
Companies are increasingly using pre-recorded presentations coupled with live Q&A sessions to ensure a slick and professional virtual event without losing the spontaneity and interactive nature of the Q&A session. You have a blank canvas so you can get creative.
One panelist suggested sending out pre-read materials (the Amazon model) to facilitate focused discussion. They released a memo before each session and gave all attendees 15 minutes to read it. Each session was followed by a Q&A discussion dedicated to the subject matter, with a further general Q&A session at the end of the event. They commented that investors found this approach refreshing.
Keep the audience engaged whilst promoting your product by filming presentations in different locations relating to your business e.g. a production site/plant, a restaurant, a store etc.
As we have mentioned in previous posts, introduce multimedia such as videos of a site visit to keep attendees engaged with changes in pace.
One panelist mentioned that they knew they would not have a chance to show off their products as part of the event, so they sent out samples etc. in advance to those who had registered.
The panelists said that going forward they plan to keep a virtual aspect to their IR events and expect to hold hybrid investor days in the future as they do not want to lose in-person interaction.
This means that attendance is limited neither by room size nor by geographic location and the ability/desire to travel. They plan to combine the best of both worlds and acknowledged that the virtual offering must be exceptional so that both types of audiences are on a level playing field.
One panelist mentioned that it is likely that their Annual Shareholder Meetings will remain virtual only going forward.
The format used can influence the length of the event. Virtual events are helping companies to deliver more concise content through the use of videos and shorter presenter time slots. Virtual events have also enabled some companies to feature more speakers.
We consider 1.5-2 hours to be the ideal length for a virtual investor day, depending on how long you expect your Q&A session to last. Try to keep presentations as concise as possible to hold the audience’s attention. If you have a lot of specific ground to cover you could consider breaking the investor day up into multiple sessions to avoid one long event.
Attendance and Questions
The panelists did not prescreen their attendees but had no problems and commented that they were happy to have a larger audience. We suggest keeping this open environment but having a targeted invite list.
Some panelists decided to use the written Q&A functions on their chosen platforms. Whilst this approach makes the engagement with attendees more limited (compared to giving attendees the microphone), it enables questions to be (i) grouped together, (ii) prioritized (you may choose to prioritize the sell side and your most active analysts) and filtered and (iii) directed at different speakers, rather than all questions being for the CEO and CFO, which is often the case. Another bonus of taking written questions is that one attendee cannot take over the event with multiple follow up questions at once, and you can follow up with certain investors and analysts if you did not have a chance to answer their question. All the questions submitted can also help to inform future content as it gives an added insight into who and how many attendees are asking similar questions. That said, written questions can be boring and one loses the energy and excitement of unexpected audience questions.
If you choose to allow questions to be submitted before the event, as part of the registration for example, then this could help to inform your content.
In terms of hybrid events, Q&A could seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember that you have two audiences and highlight the virtual Q&A submission process. Make sure you incorporate questions from both sides. There are likely to be some bumps along the way with the transition to hybrid events, but the efficiencies and analytics that come with the hybrid model will benefit corporates as well as investors.
Measurement / Feedback
As with any initiative, it is important to measure the success and effectiveness of IR events. In some ways this is made easier with virtual events. Compare pre-event data (e.g. registration rate vs. earnings calls) to analyze what can be done to drive registration (e.g. collecting questions before the event).
Analyzing your data can help you to focus your post-event follow up and investor targeting. It also measures the success of your event for you to feed back to senior management. There is a whole host of questions that can be asked to evaluate the event and measure message absorption. Miranda IR can help you to set these questions.
It is also important to gather feedback from attendees. This can be achieved through digital surveys as well as more formal telephone feedback interviews with attendees. Use this feedback to improve future events.
Break your video replay broken down into sections so it’s easy to find a specific section e.g. the CEO’s comments on guidance.
Maintain a strong focus on content, but be concise.
Make sure the management team is comfortable with the production.
Be flexible and be authentic. Do not be a robot. Let your management team’s personalities show.
To give an idea of what others are thinking, here are the result of three polls taken during the webinar:
No one thought that a virtual investor day should be over 4 hours long.
Miranda IR is here to help you execute a successful and impactful investor day or other IR event. We can also assist you with post event analysis. Get in touch if you would like to hear more.
Contacts at Miranda Partners