A Few of My Favorite Things
Okay boys and girls... here's a pop quiz for you this Monday morning: What's the last thing the investor relations community needs? RIGHT, another (meaningless) awards competition.
Seriously, how many competitions does one industry need? RIGHT, one more!
So, without further ado, I'd like to share with you a few of my favorite things and hand out this first annual "ROBBIE" awards for random acts of investor relations...
BEST INDUSTRY BLOG: Corporate Governance Leaders is a must read. A tremendous resource for insight and opinions on the ever-changing governance landscape from some of the sharpest minds around.
BEST IR WEBSITE (non-client division): I honestly can say I've seen a marked improvement in IR websites over the past year. That's not to say a healthy percentage have a long way to go (and you know who you are), but it's been nice to see folks view their websites as more than just an online repository for news releases. If I were to pick a favorite IR site from the past year, I'd have to go with Cisco. Great and intuitive template. Rich with meaningful content. Great incorporation of social media tools (if you're into that sort of thing). Nice to see the shoemaker's children not going barefoot!
BEST IRO (non-client division): pound-for-pound, you'd have to look long and hard to find an IRO that brings more to the table than Evergreen Solar's Mike McCarthy. Much like Peyton Hillis is to the Browns' running game, Mike brings the same intensity and versatility to his position day in and day out. An army of one, he is thorough and thoughtful in his work and equal parts advocate and defender for his company. Not one to self-promote and serving on behalf of a small-cap company, it is understandable if you don't immediately recognize his name. Believe me when I say his investors know the name and hear from him constantly (if you get a chance, you should ask him to send you a sample of the email he sends out with his earnings e-blast - brilliant customer service). And trust me when I say this profession could stand a few more practitioners like Mike McCarthy in its ranks.
BEST INDUSTRY CONTROVERSY: Web disclosure - by a landslide. And how perfect a topic for a mid-term election year as Web disclosure allowed the IR community to call each other names and stretch the truth like real political candidates. What drama! What fun! What the... ?!?
BEST NEW BEST PRACTICE: Selfishly, I'd like to say the best new IR "best practice" is to realize that there isn't such a thing as a best practice in IR for the simple fact that, if it doesn't serve your unique investor base effectively or efficiently, then why in the world would you bother? Since I suspect I'm alone in that thinking, then I'd have to give the ROBBIE to reconnecting with the retail community via new technology (e.g., virtual investor conferences, social media). Among other things, an engaged retail base can be a tremendous asset to a company during a heated proxy contest. Technology affords companies the opportunity to reach its retail investors in ways it could never before, thus creating a real "win-win" situation. At the very least, technology puts an end to the argument that there just isn't enough time (or budget) to serve this audience.
BEST PRESENTER @ INDUSTRY EVENTS: Does anyone present more - or presents better information - than Darrell Heaps of Q4 Websystems?!? I highly doubt it. Darrell always brings a fresh perspective to the somewhat cluttered debate on "IR on the Web" and does so in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-apply manner. If you are one of the four people in North America who has never heard/seen Darrell present, make that a New Year's resolution for yourself in 2011.
BEST IR TWEETER: I thought about this one a lot on my walk this morning... honestly, there is a lot of good information being shared on #IR and #corpgov on Twitter. And, seriously, what else would you be doing at 11a (ET) on Thursdays than participating in #irchat (thank you for this gift that keeps giving, @meetthestreet). But - at the end of the day - no one quite gets the IR folks on Twitter all a'twitter like the undisputed champ of the "virtual bar fight" Dominic Jones. He's relentless... he's passionate... he's judgmental... he's inflexible... he's coarse... he's volatile... he's wrong as much as he's right... and, like the Energizer bunny, he keeps going and going and going... in other words, he's a great read. Also, he's the one person on Twitter that causes folks to send me notes saying, "Did you just see what Dominic said about (usually about a wire service)?" For that reason alone, this ROBBIE goes to Dominic.
BEST ANNUAL REPORT (non-client division): As some of you know, I'm a bit of an annual report junkie. I try to read as many each year as I can - I simply love the balancing act between the creative and compliance. There were a lot of great reports this year but the most recent report by Daiwa House Group continues to rise above the rest for me. Well-conceived creative approach that amplifies the company's core messaging to investors. More than merely a compliance piece with redundant historical data, Daiwa put together a vital educational piece for investors that also brings the company's overarching brand to life. LOVE IT!
Now, before I announce the winners of the "Best NIRI Chapter" award and the "Best Earnings Release" award, let's take a break and get a word from our sponsors. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what categories you'd like see covered and/or last-minute nominees for categories already covered
Position:Senior Managing Director
Rob oversees Dix & Eaton’s investor relations practice and is a member of the firm’s Leadership Committee. Over his nearly 20-year career, he has developed and executed investor relations programs for companies in a wide range of industries and market cap sizes.
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