‘Awards in Focus’ webinar, Part 1: Shaping best-in-class investor communications
In the first in our series of 'Awards in Focus' webinars, David Shriver, Director of Communications at Ocado, and Andrew Carter, Director of IR at Rotork – both winners of our 2020 Best Practice Awards - discussed with Richard Davies, Managing Director at RD:IR, how to create a compelling narrative and successfully articulate your company’s investment proposition.
Carter, winner of ‘Best Newcomer to IR’, started the discussion by highlighting that companies must be clear about what their investment proposition is and emphasised that it should not be presented as a list of features, such as strong cash flow, good margins, market leading position, etc. Instead, the investment proposition should set out to the buyside the rationale for investing in the business and this might include reasons such as that it is a sum-of-the-parts case, or a recovery story. IROs should seek to understand why their shareholders are invested, and perceptions studies can be a useful tool in doing so. Investors will expect to see behaviour from companies that is consistent with their investment case.
Ocado won ‘Best Overall Communication of Company Investment Proposition’ and Shriver offered the audience valuable advice by sharing three principles he tries to bring to crafting this key messaging. Firstly, make sure a balance is achieved between observable facts and future goals. Investor relations, like other communications functions, should set out a forward-looking narrative, or story, that creates a sense of journey towards a goal, with milestones (observable facts) along the way. Secondly, don’t let the ‘tactical’ swamp the ‘strategic’. Companies must engage tactically to ensure their strategic objectives are met, but don’t let one dominate the other. Finally, remain calm and do not let events overwhelm you!
On ESG, our guests noted how this has moved up the agenda and evolved at speed over the past 18 months. ESG must now be at the heart of messaging. It is a major undertaking but presents a fantastic opportunity for IROs to mobilise the business and think about their ESG reporting and disclosures. Materiality assessments should be carried out to help identify the key areas for a business to focus on.
Visit the events archive in our member area to hear this thought-provoking and informative discussion between our fantastic moderator and two award-winning guest speakers!
Moderator: Richard Davies, Managing Director, RD:IR
Andrew Carter, Director of Investor Relations, Rotork
David Shriver, Director of Communications, Ocado
Published 10 December, 2020