Professional press more and more often touches on the subject of Human-to-Human communication as a new quality which is to replace B2B and B2C marketing. Investor relations unfortunately are left behind.
In most Polish companies the perception of the investor is a little bit worse than that of the customer. Unlike the buyer, who has already paid his money and if the business continues to develop, he is not very likely to withdraw his cash. Thus, caring for the buyer requires a confirmation, from time to time, that the company generates profits.
Relations with investors are treated like nothing more than online publishing of tables with figures and a short commentary from the president, who confirms that everything is going fine. Even if it’s not and the company can barely make ends meet.
What is the purpose of existence?
Marketers have noticed some time ago that a buying experience is becoming more and more important when building long-lasting relations with customers – Walker research shows that by 2020 this will have become the most important selection criterion, even more important than the price or quality of the purchased product.
Therefore, investor relations specialists should ask themselves a question – what buying experiences can we deliver to our investors? Is information about development, income growth and hiring of new employees the best the company can offer? Is profit making the only purpose of the company’s existence and is keeping money where it is multiplied the only purpose of the investor?
The Human2Human communication assumes this is not the case. Naturally, financial matters are critical in investor relations but the added value is something that may evoke the customer effect or, in this particular case, the investor excellence effect.
Good examples from Scandinavia
Two Scandinavian companies are perfect examples of brilliant communication with investors: Cybercom, operating in IT, and a world giant of energy and oil, Statoil.
Reports of these companies, in addition to figures and most important information about company operations, contain multiple additional materials such as articles about company’s ordinary day, employees’ comments or major events from the organisation’s life.
Cybercom’s annual report contains multiple educational materials. The company specialises in delivering sophisticated technological cybersecurity and internet of things solutions. The 2015 report explains these issues using a simple language and demonstrates how Cybercom contributed to these areas in that year.
Another example of well-performed investor communication is Norwegian Statoil, a state-owned oil company which went public in 2001. An extensive report is written in a very simple and comprehensible language, friendly both to individual and institutional investors.
Brilliant communication that could also be set as an example to follow in investor relations is that of IKEA, a non-public corporation. In its reports, IKEA dedicates much attention to stressing how important, in the corporate policy, is ecology and positive approach to each employee, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or views. Why not? After all, stock exchange socially responsible indexes were introduced over twenty years ago. It is high time certain things become standard solutions. Maybe there is no point speaking of investor relations, CSR, corporate communication, when we actually communicate with a human? Growing awareness of consumers/ investors – humans – forces companies to become genuinely committed to building their business by satisfying actual needs, resolving true problems and performing social activities.
The companies mentioned above make their investors or Customers feel that their money is something more than the growing bar on a graph. With that investment the money became a tool to build a better world. In the case of IKEA – a more open and environment-friendly world, and in the case of Cybercom – a modern and innovative world. In this way the company formulates a message with which the investors or Customers are willing to identify themselves or even become proud of contributing to building something profitable and valuable.
It’s the awareness of co-creating a better tomorrow that constitutes the “added value” or “investor experience”, which should be carried by contemporary investor relations.