I received a call the other day from an individual new to Investor Relations. She had just been hired by a junior exploration company in Vancouver and was asked to represent her company at the upcoming PDAC mining conference in Toronto. This will be her first experience as an Investor Relations professional representing a company, and it just happens to be at the largest mining convention in the world. Now what?
Depending on whom you ask, these investor conferences can be of great benefit or a complete waste of resources. I believe they can be both. If you prepare properly and follow a game plan, these conferences can be extremely valuable. But, if you show up unprepared, it may be a fun experience but a complete waste of corporate funds and time.
I caught up with Bear Creek Mining’s Lisa May, an experienced IR professional, currently completing her professional Certification in Investor Relations from CIRI and the IVEY school of Business. We discussed investor conferences and came up with these four areas which are critical to the success of Investor Relations professionals.
4 pillars of a successful Investors Conference plan
There are four pillars to a successful investor conference plan. If you follow all four, you will have success and will have created value for your company. Miss any of these crucial pillars, and your conference might have been a waste of time and money.
1. Identifying the right conferences
2. Preparing for the conference
3. Executing the conference plan
4. Conference follow up – measurement of success
Identifying the right conferences for your company
First, you must understand your own company. You will need to figure out the basic facts about your company before you can figure out which conferences to attend. Next, find out from Sr. management what the corporate strategy is and why they want you to attend the conferences. Finally, use your detective skills to search for all potential industry specific conferences. Once you know these answers, it should be easy to identify the right conferences to attend.
• What industry are you in? (no brainer)
• Why does your company want to you attend the conferences? What is the strategy?
• What stage is your company in? (grass roots exploration, advanced exploration, mining)
• What’s your market cap size? (micro-cap, small cap, mid cap, large cap)
• Who are your company’s peers? (companies similar to yours)
• What conferences do your peers attend? – which ones do they recommend?
• What is your company willing to spend to attend the conferences? Some are expensive!
• Where does your management want to gain traction? – find investors, analysts, fund managers, brokers etc. (local, Canada, USA, Europe, Asia)
• Search online – maybe there are new conferences this year.
• Search through your social networks – ask what conferences to attend on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.
Preparing for the conference
Now that you have identified a few conferences that look intriguing, the next steps are to get registered for the conference and start the process of preparation. The registration is the easy part as long as the conference is open to all. You may find the conference you want to attend is by invitation only and your company may not meet the criteria this year. Once you have registered, the real work begins. The preparation stage is by far the most important.
• Identify the company goals for the conference. Why are you attending? (To gain retail investors, meet institutional investors, business development, or networking)
• Book all the conference extras (tables, chairs, carpet, insurance etc.)
• Book travel for you and your conference materials. (you may send your booth early)
• Do you have a conference booth? Is it current? Do you have a graphic designer to provide current material for the banners? Is your booth functional? How do you set it up, Test it out. Make sure you do a dry run in your office!
• Prepare the marketing materials: fact sheets, corporate presentations etc.
• Locate a local printer near the conference in case more materials are needed.
• Plan your schedule around the conference – what other events, meetings can you arrange for your management team?
• Invite investors, brokers, shareholders to visit you at the booth – by email and through social networks like: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
• Prepare your strategy and game plan for your days at the booth. How will you engage investors? How will you track your conversations?
• Prepare a list of frequently asked questions you will likely be asked at your booth and rehearse your answers
• Add the conference to the Calendar section of your company website – maybe highlight the conference on the homepage.
• Prepare a strategy to measure your success at the show – did you accomplish your goals?
Show time – During the conference
You have managed to get this far; now it is time to perform. I strongly recommend you arrive at least one day early and make use of the early set-up time for your booth. Sometimes they break or have issues that you will want to solve before the morning of the show. Once the doors open and the investors start to roll in, you need to be on your game. Try to have more than a few hours of sleep; this can be difficult at times. Here are a few tips once the investors start to walk the aisles.
• Don’t get worried if many investors don’t want to speak to you, each investor has different agendas and specific companies and sectors they follow.
• Start with a smile and a nice greeting to those that stop by your booth.
• Define roles of those in the booth. Are you manning the booth alone, or with the company CEO?
• Have a few good opening questions like: Have you heard of our company? Are you interested in copper? If that is your speciality, can I answer any questions for you?
• Don’t act like a used car salesman.
• Engage your audience; find out if they are a current shareholder, what kind of investor they are, how they hear heard about your company?
• Create an opportunity for follow-up.
• Create a spreadsheet and record details of the good meetings you had, and try to collect a business card or contact details.
• Tweet about the conference while it is occurring, inviting people to your booth to meet you.
• Try to attend any Tweet-ups you have been invited to – maybe create your own.
• Add the conference information to your corporate Facebook page and add daily updates and pictures of the events.
• Try to get some video footage of your CEO or management at the conference.
• Try to arrange some media coverage (perhaps an interview for your Sr. management).
Follow up and measurement of success – Was the conference a good return on investment?
Once the tradeshow is over and you have packed up the booth and sent it on its way, it will be time for a cold drink and a quick reflection on the success of the event. You may want to wait until you return home, but don’t procrastinate: do these before you move on to your next task and while your memories are fresh. Here’s what I do:
• Review your spreadsheet and compare it to your original goals – did you meet the number of retail and institutional brokers you had hoped?
• Did you meet your networking goals?
• Did you manage to arrange any business development meetings?
• Did you meet the shareholders that you invited to the booth?
• Were your social media and social network activities a success?
• Review your pre-conference checklist – did all go as planned? What changes would you make?
• Were you happy with the travel arrangements? Was the hotel acceptable?
• What events, activities did you not know about that you want to include for next year?
• Plan your follow-up with all the individuals you met with.
• Update your list of frequently asked questions.
• Create a document that you can share with Sr. management and the board showing them the company’s success at the conference and a plan to improve next year’s event.
• Plan your meeting with your CEO to review your compensation – you are surely due for a raise!
We hope this has been a helpful tool. Please contact us should you have any questions or would like assistance with any of your Corporate Investor Relations needs: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Talk soon, see you at the next Investors Conference!
Jon Bey – Steel Rose Communications
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Together with the features and best practices of our completely customizable and flexible website platform, Steel Rose adds a full service, outsourced investor relations consultant company, specializing in the resource sector, with small to mid-cap public companies trading on the North American and European markets.
Darrell Heaps, CEO of Q4, had this to say:
“We are pleased to be working with such a talented group at SRC. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Jon Bey, the company’s President and CEO, who is a high-quality, experienced investor relations professional. Our best-in-class corporate IR website and social media solutions, coupled with SRC’s comprehensive suite of services and IR solutions tailored to meet each client’s specific needs, ensure a well-managed investor relations program that will drive shareholder value.”
Jon Bey, President and CEO of Steel Rose Communications also commented:
“We are excited to be partnering with Darrell and his talented team at Q4. We understand that public companies are increasingly focusing budgets, and attention, towards a more strategic utilization of web channels for investor communications – including both the corporate/investor website, and social media channels. So it was natural for us to partner with Q4, as they have the right suite of products and services designed to address our clients’ strategic IR communications requirements.”
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Puppies are the greatest
But, here’s the thing, … Puppies need to be taken care of.
And, as with your social media program, the time you invest at the start will make all the difference in years to come. So do it well; and if you need help, get it, you will be glad you did.
Learning to have pets
Puppies are a responsibility.
You need to feed them. You need to walk them. You need to love them. Pet them.
You need to give them a place to live. A space to play too, and let loose.
Dogs used to sleep in ‘doghouses’. Now they sleep at the end of your bed. ie. they are more a part of our lives than ever before. An extension of who we are. Our family.
People buy their dogs all sorts of toys, bones, booties, bells, and whistle; but your relationship really depends on the quality of the interaction with the dog.
Puppies/dogs are not free.
Learning to start a Social Media Program
Social Media is responsibility.
The tools are ‘free’, but the time commitment is not. What you do with it, and how well you do it, is up to you.
You don’t want to let your puppy down. If you are going to commit to doing social media, you might as well commit to doing it well.
Building your social media presence requires you to be a homemaker. Building your ‘castle’, whatever the size; but one that is inviting, full of love, acceptance, for you, and your loved ones.
Bells and whistles are neat and all, but your content creation is what you’re building. ‘Content is king’. Concentrate on interactions.
It can be overwhelming. Sometimes it is best to start with one puppy, and see what you can handle. Perhaps start by simply Monitoring social media, see what it is all about, and figure out where you fit in.
To reap the benefits of Social Media, you have to get involved. Pups thrive on a firm schedule – try to be consistent with your social media. You need to build your presence, you need to feed your followers with content, you need to utilize your network.
Puppies are the new Social Media (Tweet Me)
Social Media and Puppy Similarities
- Easy to fall in love with
- They are social, participate in your life
- Can alert you to potential threats
- Require a serious commitment
- Can be a distraction, and even annoying at times
- Require your attention, suffer without it
- Can make a real mess if left alone, and potentially cause serious damage
- Thrive on a firm schedule
- Benefits increase the more time you spend with them
Woof woof, paw paw
Perhaps you find social media overwhelming. Perhaps you can’t commit to doing it right by yourself. If you need some help, let us know, we are here to help.
Or, if you just want to tell us of your own puppy to social media comparisons, that’s cool too. We would love to hear them.
Woof you later!
(Related post : Puppies are the new Social Media Pt.1)
- Posted in About SRC, Investor Relations, Social Media
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- Tags: #bcmining, #mining, #puppiesarethenewsocialmedia, #vanmining, @IRmag, @steelrosecomm, Canada Mining, Canadian Investor Relations Institute, coaching assistance, Investor Relations, Investor Relations Communications, Investor Relations Companies, Investor Relations Companies Vancouver, Investor Relations Vancouver, Jon Bey, Puppies are the new Social Media, social media, Social Media Communications, social media education, social media management, social media strategy
Romeo and Juliet can teach us a lot about Social Media
But, before you test my Shakespeare knowledge, I am talking about Jon’s new puppies, Romeo and Juliet =========>
Romeo, Juliet, and Social Media
(intro by Jon Bey)
I have often heard that the answer to your question is usually right in front of your face. The secret of course is figuring out what that question is. Well as things happen sometimes, my question appeared at the end of business meeting in mid-December. I was asked if I wanted the perfect Christmas gift for my children – a puppy.
The answer was yes, we had actually been looking for a puppy, and the timing was right. The real shock was when I realised we were going home with two puppies, not one. My daughter instantly named the black, girl puppy Juliet, and the golden boy soon after inherited the name Romeo, which seemed to fit perfectly.
Once the puppies were home, and we started preparing the home, and ourselves, for the upcoming adventure; I soon recognised the similarities between the lessons we were going to teach our children about puppies, and the lessons we teach our clients about Social Media.
Puppies are the new Social Media
Puppies are new, exciting, fun.
Puppies are somewhat unknown. What makes them tick? What will they do next?
They are soft, warm, and fuzzy. Always playful. Always up for cuddles. Puppies are quite simply one of the easiest things to fall in love with.
Puppies lick and/or paw you when they want something. Sometimes they just bark; possibly warning you of some impending danger, someone lurking outside; or maybe they are just wondering where you are.
Puppies are ‘Man’s Best Friend’. They are always there for you, always ready to say hello, always ready for a walk, ready for some pats, ready to give back love.
Puppies are considered by many to be ‘more social than other pets’. They participate in your life. A source of wonder. A conversation piece with friends. Say hello to neighbours as you walk around the block. Meet new friends at the dog park.
Getting a new puppy can change your life
And, this is the way many people feel as they enter into the world of social media, elation as to the potential Social Media holds for you, and your business. Excited to get involved, eager to buy into their ‘new puppy’ experience.
Social Media generally does all the things mentioned above, and more.
In fact, ‘social never sleeps’. It’s always there. Always on. There is a constant conversation going on around you. Interact/engage, and it can be your best friend.
Through Monitoring your Social Media, you can gain insight into the conversation surrounding your brand, or lack thereof, perhaps even finding some issues that need to be resolved.
It is an opportunity to expand your horizons, find new things, get more information on issues you are interested in, meet new people, while building existing relationships.
Puppies are the greatest
But, here’s the thing, … (stay tuned for Puppies are the new Social Media Pt.2)
Woof woof, paw paw
(Related post : Puppies are the new Social Media Pt.2)
Woof you later!
… and, yes, here is a video of Romeo and Juliet …
- Posted in About SRC, Investor Relations, Social Media
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This past weekend in Vancouver, the BC Lions completed a remarkable season by winning the Grey Cup at home, almost effortlessly. The fascinating part of the story – the team had one of its worst starts in franchise history. I can’t remember a team in my lifetime, in any sport, starting that poorly, and winning the championship. So what happened this year in the Lion’s Den? And what lessons can an IRO learn from our Lions?
Good Companies – Bad Results
Let’s be realistic – bad things happen to good companies. It happens every day. Many decent companies collapse when things go bad. And, many also manage to survive the first collapse, only then to stagnate soon thereafter. Then there are a select few that manage to right the ship, and strike gold. The Lions did it, what was their formula for success?
Build the Management Team
Every business needs to assemble a strong leadership team. In the corporate world, we hire the Board of Directors, and the Senior Management team. The BC Lions hired Wally Buono as the GM, and his Coaching Staff to run their company.
Once the leadership was in place, the next task was to devise a Corporate Strategy. The Lions needed a roadmap to lead them to the Grey Cup. What would they stand for? How would they accomplish their goals? This is an exciting time in the life of a company, and hopefully an IRO will be a part of this early development in the company’s life.
Gather the Assets
With the leadership and strategy in place, it is now time to gather the assets. For a Mining Company, this would be the projects. For the Lions – their players. The mining execs would have a game plan to gather the assets, identify exactly what they were looking for, and then sign contracts to secure those assets. Sound familiar? As the years progress, the Mining Company acquires new projects, and releases old assets that may not have worked out as planned. Each season Wally, and his coaches, identified the team strengths and weaknesses, cut loose their weak players, and targeted new assets that would strengthen their team.
Future Looks Bright
As the Lions’ season approached, the company looked great. They had a strong leadership team, an excellent game plan, valuable assets, and excited, invested stakeholders. Their Investor Relations and Communications team were primed for success, as well, especially as they were hosting the Grey Cup in their state-of-the-art $750 Million renovated stadium – a marketing dream season! There would be enough worthy news to keep the stakeholders engaged the entire season.
The Season Begins
Then the games started and disaster struck. After a dismal 0-5 start, local media declared the Lions “A disaster, and by far the worst team in the league”. Stakeholders were calling for management’s termination, and for the assets to be divested. Blow up the team and start over. Sound familiar?
Fast forward to the end-of-season press conference. The team management were asked what was going through their minds when they were 0-5? Were they scared of losing their jobs? Did they doubt their leadership? Did they question their players’ abilities? Did they change their game plan?
What Did Management Do?
Sometimes companies have the right team assembled, they comprise a great strategy, assemble a fantastic asset, but when they implement the plan things go horribly wrong at the start. That was the case with this year’s team. Was it time to panic? No. Was it time to blow up the team and management? No. It was time to assess the situation, stick to the game plan, and make minor adjustments. When things go wrong, leadership needs to assess what is wrong, and fix it before it is too late. Wally and his team did a great job of communicating with their stakeholders. They were honest, transparent, and available. They didn’t sugar coat the situation, they laid out the facts and repeated their messaging. “We are a good team, we have the right people and we are going to get better.”
Role of the IRO
The IRO has a crucial role to play with the Senior Management team in these situations. The IRO has to be the eyes and ears of the company, listening to what the Stakeholders are whispering , or perhaps screaming. Today’s IRO has to be Social Media savvy, plugged in to the areas where the information is flowing fast and furious. Ask the hard questions. Know where to find the answers.
Communicating and Engaging
In turn, the IRO has to get the message to the Street. And, simply sending out a press release won’t cut it anymore. And yet, joining a few social networks after a crisis strikes is too late. If the IRO is not already plugged in, and engaged, through social media by this stage in the process, it’s too late. The IRO has a vast array of communication tools at his/her disposal today; and the good IRO’s know how – and when – to use these tools to communicate effectively in every situation.
Stick to Your Vision
Wally and his coaches persevered through a difficult stretch this season. They were bent, but they didn’t break. They made minor adjustments to their plan, but kept the focus on the big picture, and worked at improving their team one step at a time. Wally may never coach again. His final season may be his most memorable, and that’s saying a lot for arguably the best coach in the history of the CFL. I will remember the stand he took for his players, and coaching staff, after their brutal start. “We have a great team, and we are going to turn this around. We have to be more accountable for our effort and mistakes, and that starts with me.”
What Are Your Thoughts?
Connect With Us
At Steel Rose Communications, we help public companies focus their Corporate Strategy, and devise an IR game plan. Could your team use some coaching assistance? Contact us, we would love to help.
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