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Were you heard this reporting season?

By John Murray, Boardroomradio

From mid July to 31 August, the vast majority of the 1,900 ASX listed companies release their results to the market – most in a concentrated three week period.  During this busy period, one of the biggest issues for companies is attracting attention from investors, analysts and the media. 

Many CEOs will come away from the reporting season feeling disappointed the market did not react to their results in the way they had hoped.   So what can companies do to stand out from the crowd and have their message heard?  Ensuring that investors have access to important company information, and that this information is easy to understand, is a very good start.

Ensure your message can be understood and tell a bigger story.

Providing an easy to read summary and explanation of the results helps make the information more relevant.   Providing pages of financials is required for regulatory purposes, however companies should make the most of this opportunity by telling the bigger story about their business.  The ASX ‘Guidance Note 10: Review of Operations and Activities’ states:

    “The provision of reliable, relevant and useful information facilitates more efficient pricing of companies and reduces market volatility.”  

What is important is that you engage your investors.  Tell them about the developments and events of the past twelve months, the key people behind the company and what they can look forward to in the year ahead.

Use a variety of media

The Australian Investor Relations Association (AIRA) Best Practice Investor Relations; Guidelines for Australian Listed Entities, lists a number of different tools that companies typically use at results time to help engage investors, including media conferences, broker and analyst briefings and one-on-one briefings.  An important aspect to these activities is that no price sensitive information should be disclosed. 

These tools can be highly effective when engaging institutional investors, but companies should also consider retail investors who are not usually included in such activities.  According to the London Stock Exchange:

    “Investors expect corporate communications to go beyond mere regulatory requirements. Shareholders, analysts and institutional investors want to receive company news via the desktop tools and financial media that they use every day.”

The internet provides a number of less costly investor relations tools that enable companies to take their message to more investors.  Webcasting is one such tool, which can be a simple, cost effective and efficient option for corporate communications.

About webcasting

According to wikipedia 1 :

“the generally accepted use of the term webcast is the "transmission of linear audio or video content over the Internet. A webcast uses streaming media technology to take a single content source and distribute it to many simultaneous listeners/viewers…Webcasting is (also) used extensively in the commercial sector for investor relations presentations (such as Annual General Meetings), in E-learning (to transmit seminars), and for related communications activities”.

Webcasting is no longer just for companies with large investor relations budgets or huge shareholder numbers.  Many small to medium sized companies are now using webcasting as a cost effective means to be noticed in a crowded market. 

Big technology productions are often out of the question for most CEOs, who simply don’t have the time or inclination to do the necessary preparation or set up.

However, there are some locally-based service providers who do offer simple webcasting solutions (including Boardroomradio for whom the author of this educational piece works). People that have looked at webcasting in the past have been put off by issues of cost and complexity, however as technology improves, the issues are going away. In some case, all you need is a CEO who can use a telephone!

1  Wikipedia

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