Your Company Wins When IR and PR Collaborate
By Cara Sloman, CEO, Force4 Technology Communications
In the perfect scenario, investor relations (IR) and public relations (PR) would collaborate to promote a company’s value proposition and its differentiators — demonstrating a comprehensive and integrated perspective by bringing these divisions together. However, during the past 20 years, the two functions have grown increasingly distant from one another. There are many benefits of developing a closer relationship between the two where the whole is better than its parts.
Missing out on synergy
Even though both the IR and PR teams are in charge of promoting the company, they rarely collaborate because they frequently report to separate corporate leaders – IR usually reports to the chief finance officer while PR reports to the chief marketing officer. The two teams have very different and unique responsibilities. For instance, IR professionals provide investors with an accurate account of company affairs. This helps private and institutional investors make informed decisions on whether to invest in the company. Meanwhile, PR teams are tasked with raising the visibility of a company in the market through news announcements, positive media coverage, speaking opportunities at trade shows, and more. This has resulted in silos between the two functions.
By increasing the connection between IR and PR, a company’s message could be strengthened and clarified while also becoming more visible.
Convergence in three steps
Here are three best practices we employ to cross that invisible boundary and start a more extensive conversation between IR and PR to help amplify a company’s messaging, while strengthening the partnership between both divisions.
Timelines for impending events are used by both IR and PR teams to organize their activities. PR places a strong emphasis on conferences, press releases, awards and social media. IR considers quarterly reports, writing earnings call scripts and 10Ks at the end of the year. Both teams can more quickly create supplementary documents that provide additional value by sharing important dates and content that is available.
Joining forces and sharing information results in better communication, which increases interest from investors and prospects. Therefore, there will be a higher return on investment and less time wasted.
IR frequently contends with news stories that prompt investors to ask the firm for clarification on how it intends to respond to a new trend or a perceived weakness in a current product or service. To promote the thought leadership of the company’s experts, the PR team is constantly looking for the newest market trends and events. When PR and IR collaborate closely, the PR staff can proactively share trends and figures from subject matter experts, giving IR the background it needs to respond to shareholder calls after business events. In contrast, when IR keeps PR informed about the inquiries they’re getting, PR can include official CEO and CMO messaging in analyst and media briefings.
Organizations often determine how successful a PR team is by the quantity and caliber of articles it places for the company. We’ve seen that IR frequently misses these items until they search the company website to see what positive articles the media and industry analysts have published in the most recent quarter (assuming the website is regularly updated). It would be easy to include IR on the communication thread that the PR team uses to send coverage to the marketing team.
The ideal situation would be for the IR team to monitor the coverage as it is published, as this would enable them to spot stories that would interest IR’s primary audiences. Large investors, for example, place a high value on awards. These accolades should be provided to IR as soon as possible so they can include them in conversations and communications.
Collaboration for the win
Opportunities are squandered when there is poor communication between IR and PR. We’ve seen PR and IR diverge throughout the years, but it doesn’t have to remain this way. Rather, for the benefit of the organization as a whole, we advise sharing trends, timelines and coverage. This collaborative effort will assist in reuniting these two functions to provide stronger messaging that benefits clients and investors alike.
Force4’s PR and digital marketing team can help you strengthen relations with your IR team, and much more. Contact us today!