Mark Hynes - thoughts on corporate disclosure

Opinions on changing rules, changing best practices, and their effect on investor relations officers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mind the gaps!

OK, change of pace. Regulators have pushed more “stuff” for us to digest on EU level corporate governance and cutting the clutter in annual reports etc. And we will have to get our heads round this avalanche. Oh joy. But beyond the rules, experimentation on how build stronger informational links with audiences is taking place.

What I find so interesting about all this regulatory focus is the attitudinal gap between regulators, the ‘compliance movement’ in corporate reporting, and what IR teams and colleagues actually do in investor communication. The use of guidance to toughen up the ‘annual report’ as if it were the only communication with investors, is somewhat curious.

The second gap is between IR and what is happening down the corridor in corporate marketing. Marketeers are pushing the boundaries ever further in experimenting with new online ways of engaging consumers, while for the most part IR has not yet looked at web-engagement ideas.

Beyond the much discussed s-l-o-w adoption rates of social media by IR – albeit with some excellent examples of the use of Facebook, Twitter, Ipad and Iphone platforms in IR - there are some further out examples of the future of investor engagement.

Please stay with me here, because these things are happening, although they have horrible names.

First ‘gamification’. Put simply, gamification seems to be about applying the technologies used in gaming, Xbox and the like, to the web. This, combined with its use of exchangeable loyalty currency, is aimed at making users of marketing websites participate more than they do at the moment. Getting web users to complete surveys, ask questions, look at product video is always difficult, and this is aimed to help. Applied to IR, for example a site visit could become a must-see, and investor presentation come to life.

See here for an example used by Nissan in launching their Leaf car. (Hit the 3d button and then the Discovery tab).

The second is the area known as infographics. As an industry, IR is from time to time accused of being text heavy. Press releases, some annual reports and reviews are examples of investor materials which are ‘wordy’.

Infographics aims to represent the complex ideas behind the text, in a detailed but more accessible way. If you think Ordnance Survey maps, you get the idea. For examples, go here.

It’s a long way off, but...


Post a Comment

<< Home