Consider Hosting an Investor Day
Hosting an investor day is a big decision. It’s a significant investment of resources: time, energy, and cost. In these changing times, those currencies are in short supply. And yet, communicating with the investment community has never been more important. Leading that conversation through an investor day—even if it means a shift to a virtual event—continues to be a strategically sound investment.
As companies continue to navigate these unprecedented times, it’s become clear that proactive, frequent communication with the street is critical. As you think about your outreach efforts, consider how a virtual investor day can provide a platform for you to shift from short term, pandemic-related communications to reintroducing your long-term story in your voice.
Use the strategic questions below to guide your planning, whether you’re considering a virtual event, a live event, or a hybrid format. While many of the strategic questions below lean toward a virtual event, we believe the strategic planning approach to creating a compelling investor day applies regardless of format.
Q1 / WHY HOST AN INVESTOR DAY?
Make sure your objectives for hosting an investor day are clear. Do you have an updated long-term strategic plan to share? Or do you need to clarify or clear up misconceptions about your current strategy? Now more than ever, it’s critical to build credibility with the financial community. Highlight your capable leadership team. Get in front of shifts in your industry. Spotlight company strengths and key initiatives. If you have news to share or something important on which to report, do it with confidence and creativity.
If an investor day isn’t already a part of your regular cadence of IR events, consider how it will fit into your outreach calendar. Consistently hosting an investor day on a predictable schedule is the best practice. It allows you to regularly update the street on the big picture.
As you begin your planning, be clear about your desired outcomes. What does success look like for you? Does it differ from past investor days, due to the current economic landscape and a shift to a more virtual environment?
When you know why you’re hosting an investor day you’ll have a north star, and that north star will help guide alignment throughout your planning and creative process.
Integrate your investor day into your existing IR calendar to build a cohesive, compelling short-term and long-term story.
Q2 / WHY NOW?
Consider the timing of your investor day. What are the other touchpoints you’ve planned with the financial community, and how might your investor day fit into your overall corporate calendar? Look across your year—annual shareholder meeting, quarterly earnings calls, non-deal road shows, conferences, and one-on-one meetings—and beyond IR events such as board meetings, strategic and annual operating plan cycles, and leadership summits. Integrate your investor day into your existing IR calendar to build a cohesive, compelling short-term and long-term story. Keep a pulse on what peers in your sector are doing.
Are there other investor days or financial conferences scheduled that your analysts and investors will be attending? Consider the rhythms of the street. And decide if and how you want to lead or follow suit.
Q3 / WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
Identify your audiences to ensure the investor day you plan is designed with those individuals in mind.
At its core, an investor day is intended for analysts and investors, but stop to consider: Who else should you include? If you’re moving forward with a virtual event, there are basically no capacity constraints like those you’d have with an in-person meeting. Consider expanding your invitation list to expose a broader group of investors—by both style and geography—to your story. Credit agencies, banks, the media, strategic partners, your board of directors, and key employees should all be considered.
When you have your audiences identified, prioritize them. Who are your primary audiences? What do they care most about? Who are your secondary audiences? What’s most important to them?
Focus on what you want each of your audiences to walk away knowing and feeling. Do you want them feeling more confident, inspired, reassured? And, even more importantly: What actions do you want each of your audiences to take after participating in your investor day?
When you’re clear on who’s coming and what you want them to know, feel, and do, you can create a plan that enables you to successfully deliver on the goals of your event.
Harnessing technology to both keep physical distance and deliver a compelling experience has never been more possible—or more expected.
Q4 / WHAT’S THE RIGHT LOCATION, AND THE BEST VIRTUAL PLATFORM?
Historically, investor days are delivered as hybrid events, with both live and digital components—a tailored experience for those in the room, and a broader webcast experience for those attending remotely.
A well chosen physical location offers attendees easy access, helps set the tone for the content delivery, and accommodates a brand-forward environment for a truly compelling experience. A digital complement allows access to your investor day for a wider audience base, including broader geographies.
With the realities of the pandemic, completely virtual delivery formats will take precedence. As you consider how to optimize an investor day in this environment, attend virtual conferences and note how companies are pushing beyond simply webcasting presentations. What are the factors to consider when selecting a platform that can deliver an experience that will keep your audience engaged? What opportunities are there to create a brand-forward physical component, foster interaction between the audience and speakers, and ensure a seamless experience?
Choosing a virtual event platform is important, but should not be finalized until you’ve identified your experience elements and priorities. Agenda, content priorities, media elements, and speakers’ remote locations all inform the functional specifications.
The good news is that broadcast and digital platforms are becoming more ubiquitous. Harnessing technology to both keep physical distance and deliver a compelling experience has never been more possible—or more expected.
Choosing a virtual event platform is important, but should not be finalized until you’ve identified your experience elements and priorities.
Q5 / WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY?
You undoubtedly have lots you could talk about, and a rich story. But for your investor day, be disciplined in your approach to content.
Your key messages, priority metrics, and supporting human stories should work together to create an integrated story that resonates across all your audiences and inspires confidence in your long-term strategy.
When organizing content components, consider a framework for introducing and reinforcing key messages across multiple touchpoints—from preevent invitations and registration to investor day presentation assets and experience activations, and all the way through to post-event activities and follow-up. Beyond the event itself, how does your investor day connect to earnings calls, reporting cycles, financial conferences, and industry trends? How does what you say at the event connect to what you said last year, and what you’ll say tomorrow? An integrated view across multiple touchpoints helps you tell a consistent and connected story across all the touchpoints included on your IR calendar.
Gather input from leadership and stakeholders to identify the mandatory content. Connect your strategic priorities to your short-term and long-term financial guidance. What supporting stories reflect your mission and purpose, and how can you bring those to life? Which lens do you want to tell your story through to best communicate brand relevance and customer loyalty?
Once you have the content framework, narrative arc, and story components in place, then think about which speakers or modalities can best deliver that content with maximum impact.
Q6 / WHO IS SPEAKING?
Beyond your CEO and CFO, consider who your attendees need to hear from in order to meet your goals. Feature other leaders who round out the program and help tell a more full and comprehensive story. Who should address your key growth initiatives? Who does the street most want to hear from? If building leadership credibility is an objective, incorporate exposure to other executives, particularly anyone who might be new to the team. If bench strength is a priority, think beyond the C-suite to include leaders from across the company. If customer or employee perspectives are part of your story, include those voices in your investor day.
Carve out time for the leader who carries the flag on ESG initiatives such as environmental efforts, diversity, equity & inclusion, and community engagement. These integral initiatives that reflect your corporate mission and values are more important to the financial community now than ever. Consider how to present this compelling content in a way that demonstrates your long-term strategy in action.
Once you’ve identified the speaking voices, consider a variety of modalities to create dynamic interest. Direct addresses, pre-recorded video addresses, moderated panels and Q&As, video or social media compilations—these all work together to weave the unique voices into a beautifully integrated program, and inform how you build your agenda.
Q7 / HOW DO YOU BUILD A RELEVANT AND COMPELLING AGENDA?
Make every moment count. Resist the urge to simply translate your previous plans for a live event into a virtual environment. Rethink, redesign, and reinvent your investor day. Whether live, virtual, or hybrid, consider the entire narrative story arc across the event. Segment the components into right-sized time blocks that work together as a compelling whole. Employ a variety of modalities to engage your audience and lead them through your agenda.
Revisit your goals, key messages, and audiences as you consider the mix of direct addresses, panel discussions, video stories, and brand experiences. Determine how much time each speaker needs to succinctly deliver the key messages. Are your social responsibility efforts best captured by a video story, or direct address? Remember to allocate time for Q&A, and virtual or live sessions for mingling with management. Keep each element crisp, engaging, and connected. Thread the key messages across the agenda, punctuate them with stories, and sprinkle in some inspirational brand moments to surprise and delight.
Resist the urge to simply translate your previous plans for a live event into a virtual environment. Rethink, redesign, and reinvent your investor day.
Q8 / HOW CAN YOUR INVESTOR DAY REFLECT, BUILD, AND EXTEND YOUR BRAND IN A WAY THAT BUILDS SHAREHOLDER VALUE?
Investors expect the insights into company strategy and performance highlights to paint a compelling investment thesis. But don’t stop there.
Presentation design is the difference between accurate and inspiring. A visual pattern language can structure and unify presentation slides, and help your audience grasp key concepts quickly and clearly. Presentation design that incorporates a visual pattern language can be leveraged beyond investor day across your IR site, non-deal road shows, earnings and conference presentations, and even board of director materials.
Often, these visual assets can be extended to employee and customer communications. Environmental 3D design elements, or physical or digital brand displays, can also be leveraged beyond investor day, providing further cohesion for your story across various channels including IR, employee, and social channels.
An investment in an investor day can deliver ROI across multiple communication channels to build a connected narrative that extends your brand story.
A visual pattern language can structure and unify presentation slides, and help your audience grasp key concepts quickly and clearly.
Q9 / WHAT SUCCESS METRICS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
We all know metrics matter. But what do you want to measure, and why?
Begin with the end in mind. Measuring attendance and engagement? Build a robust demand-gen approach that includes one-on-one follow-up for priority attendees, and use it to measure what components were most sticky. Relationship building? Create demand for follow-on discussions. Positive coverage from analysts and the media? Make it easy to write the story you want to see, by sharing a key message framework and assets to accompany the headlines.
Make sure you have internal alignment on the near term and long term KPIs for the event, and how they’ll be measured. The list of potential KPIs is long, and will be unique to each company. Examples may include target investor attendance, number and accuracy of sell-side notes, stock performance, share purchases, brand lift, internal and external engagement metrics, and media impressions. Be clear about your approach to measuring both qualitative and quantitative inputs, so you can deliver the intended results.
Q10 / WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?
There’s no off-the-shelf investor day. Consider your objectives and the size of the opportunity, and then scale your investment appropriately to rightsize both the budget and the effort required from your team. Do you need a larger team to deliver on your objectives? If so, consider both adding external partners and offering internal talent a temporary development opportunity in Investor Relations.
Make sure the budget you’ve allocated maps to the experience you want to deliver for both attendees and internal stakeholders, and recognize that expectations will likely change along the way. Save room in your budget to accommodate high-value additions, and remember: A budget is a living document.
Q11 / WHAT WILL THE EXPERIENCE OF CREATING YOUR INVESTOR DAY BE LIKE FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM?
Whether investor days are part of your current IR cadence or you’re considering an investor day for the first time, go in knowing that it’s a significant and important lift. Consider your team, existing resources, and areas of expertise: Do you have resources from across the organization—comms, PR, legal, brand, HR, social responsibility, purchasing? How will they work together? What about your C-suite? Are there representatives who will be involved, or does your exec team do best with a hands-on approach?
When seeking internal support, provide the context of this important investor day effort, and be clear about the role you’re asking each person to play. Gaining buy-in on deliverables and milestones is critical. When you have a clear understanding of your internal resources, you’ll be able to identify both strengths and gaps, speedways and barriers. External resources can provide a strategic complement to your team and help ensure you have adequate resources to deliver toward your objectives.
Q12 / WHAT TYPES OF PARTNERS DO YOU NEED?
This is hard work, and the stakes are high. As hybrid and virtual events become the norm, creating and delivering a successful investor day requires additional expertise, beyond simply choosing a platform partner.
Choose a thought partner to complement your existing team, someone who is familiar with a variety of platforms and can help you evaluate technology solutions based on the needs of your investor day and your organization. Understand that platform decisions live alongside a host of other investor day decisions.
Be realistic in your assessment of your internal resources, and choose an external partner that can help deliver the investor day that meets your goals and objectives.
A multi-disciplinary partner can offer both ease and efficiency, supporting you throughout your process with integrated resources from under one roof. From early strategic planning through executive communications, presentation design and video storytelling, and all the way through to producing your investor day, bringing on a strategic communications partner early in the process will not only elevate your investor day and help you meet your goals, but also provide a more efficient, collaborative process for your Investor Relations team.
Consider a partner with strategic expertise in developing, designing, and producing investor days—and other important events — that consistently exceed attendee and client expectations. Now more than ever, it’s important to build trust and credibility with your investors — and we’d love to help.
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