Gaining cost efficiencies by integrating IR with other communications functions
By John Morris APR, President, Marcovitch Public Relations
Here’s a corny but true quote to consider: “A best friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.” This common sense philosophy extends to communications partners, especially when you’re a new player in a crowded marketplace.
By finding and collaborating with a single source for your IR and other communications needs, you can save time and effort as well as resources and often get much better results than you might with an array of IR, PR and marketing firms.
One clear advantage of dealing with a single firm is the time savings. A simplified single briefing program and continuous one-to-one relationship means that the firm you select will truly understand your company and its needs. This is no easy feat as those of you have been down this road previously well know; finding an appropriate team that can partner with your own people and correctly communicate on the company’s behalf doesn’t happen easily and often takes considerable effort to gel. Once you have that partner on board, their value to your organization is immense. Finding one, rather than several such partners clearly is a lot more likely and certainly less time consuming than chasing and educating three or more different so-called specialists.
Today, your perceived need may only be for IR – after all, this crucial function is pivotal to your investor viability. But success can arrive surprisingly quickly and with it come opportunities for public relations, direct marketing, business-to-business communications and possibly advertising. With a smoothly functioning IR group within an integrated agency, the steps to other communications can happen quickly and the knowledge level will already be in place.
Perhaps the most important recognition of an integrated approach to IR is that investors are people first. That is to say that awareness and opinion is formed for your company in the same way it is for other entities regardless of the intensity of your dedicated IR efforts. Investors, in their role as normal people, are subjected to news media, ads in every aspect of their professional and personal lives, word of mouth and thousands of other impressions. By working with a firm that understands the range of media, your IR initiatives can achieve the share of mind necessary to achieve sound IR goals. People frequently receive company reports and other shareholder information in the mail that they toss into the blue box without even flipping the pages. The language and style of your IR efforts from annual reports to news can reflect the language and sensibility of the real world.
While individual communication and mailed reports are effective everyone agrees that the Internet is the primary source of information for Canadians and particularly so for the investment community. Even committed investors are constantly on the lookout for information and your company must have a presence that can stand up to close scrutiny. A contemporary, market savvy IR agency will only come from the ranks of agencies that understand the many other aspects of the web and are conversant in the language and detail of the Internet.
Back in the day, IR firms were ivory tower specialists who prided themselves on the secret language of the backroom. Today your IR will benefit from contemporary thinking and plain speaking. You’re a lot more likely to find those qualities in a company conversant with the broader range of communications.
Marcovitch Public Relations is an integrated communications firm that has evolved from its PR roots to incorporate branding, advertising, media buying, creative design, web development and IR. MPR uses senior professionals with cross-disciplinary experience.
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