Why and How to Invest in an Investor Day for Maximum ROI
For many publicly-traded companies, hosting an Investor Day is a key opportunity to engage with investors, share updates on the state of the business, and create a compelling story that provides a fresh perspective on the company’s long-term outlook. But such an event is in no way a small undertaking. To optimize the return on your significant investment, you will need to take a thoughtful and strategic approach to planning and hosting the big day.
Start with understanding your motivations for putting on such a major event. And then work to implement best practices for aligning the event’s goals with your company’s broader strategy. When you put in the effort, you can create a meaningful and effective experience for engaging with investors, building trust and confidence, and establishing long-lasting relationships that will position your business for continued success.
Here’s a game plan to help you work through the details and pull off an Investor Day that is well worth everyone’s time and effort.
1. Get your “why” right
Whether or not an Investor Day makes sense for your company is driven by a number of factors – some within your control and others that are not. Cost, management’s time/engagement, and macro factors all deserve consideration. So does the overall driver or motivation for the day. While some companies may view an Investor Day as a routine part of their investor relations strategy, others have more specific and highly compelling motivations for hosting such an event. Drivers can include:
- Shift in Strategy. Has there been a major pivot in the company’s focus, such as moving into a new market or launching a new product line? How about a change in the company’s approach to key business areas, such as marketing or customer service, or defining or realignment of ESG initiatives to the company’s overall strategy? In these scenarios, an Investor Day is an ideal format for providing investors with a detailed understanding of the rationale behind the strategic shift. A key focus for the day should be building confidence among investors by illustrating potential benefits and risks as well as ensuring that the company’s message is clear and consistent. Keep in mind that in today’s environment, ESG initiatives should be embedded as an integral part of overall corporate strategy, showcasing to investors how a company mitigates risk. Per the EY CEO survey conducted in 2022, over 82% of US CEOs agree that ESG investment is a key strategic value driver. With any strategic shift, it is important for a company to consider and communicate how ESG criteria and goals fit within a company’s approach. Learn more about giving ESG a starring role at your next Investor Day or creating an ESG-exclusive investor event.
- Transformational Transaction. An Investor Day is the ideal setting to announce or rationalize a transformational transaction. This could involve a major deal that significantly changes the size or shape of the company, such as a merger with a key competitor, acquisition of a complementary business, or divestiture of a business line or segment that no longer aligns with a company’s long-term strategy. An Investor Day provides the time and space for the company to explain the strategic rationale behind the transaction, as well as the potential benefits and associated risks. The goal is to reassure investors that the company has a clear plan for the transformation and that the long-term value proposition of the company remains intact.
- New Leadership Teams. The appointment of a new CEO, CFO, or other key executives, or a change in the composition of the board of directors are key drivers for hosting an Investor Day. The new leadership team can gain initial exposure to key stakeholders, share their vision for the company, and highlight strategic priorities and plans for execution. This helps build trust and confidence among investors as they gain a better understanding of the capabilities and experience of the new team. Keep in mind that an Investor Day is also a great opportunity to showcase the breadth of the full management team, allowing investors to hear from other executives outside of the usual interactions with a company’s CEO or CFO.
- Regular Updates to the Investment Community. Of course, not every Investor Day is prompted by a major strategic shift or change in leadership. Some companies host an annual Investor Day as a regular part of their investor relations strategy, providing investors with routine updates on the company’s performance, outlook, and key initiatives. Annual Investor Days provide deeper insight into a company’s business, reinforce the company’s message, and facilitate building new relationships with investors over time. Investors often look forward to and appreciate the annual opportunity to engage with the company’s management team and ask questions about the company’s operations and strategy.
2. Define and clarify messaging objectives
Whatever your driving motivation for hosting an Investor Day, best practice calls for clearly defining the specific communication objectives of the event. Map out the key messages you want to communicate and ensure they align not only with the theme of the day, but also with the company’s broader strategic goals. This will help to ensure that the company’s message is clear and consistent, and that the event is meaningful for investors.
3. Gauge sentiment
While you are hosting an Investor Day because there is important information and key messages you want to share, you cannot afford to overlook what your investors want to hear. Proactively understanding what your investors and analysts are most interested in can be a challenge, but it is paramount to ensure the day is a success. Companies can work to understand these expectations through normal course interactions with the Street. You may also want to consider conducting a perception study prior to the event to more formally gauge sentiment and glean insight for targeting your message. Perception studies can range from a few quick questions via an online survey to a more formal process that includes in-depth interviews. See our thoughts here on how to get the most out of a perception study.
4. Set the stage for proactive engagement
Ensuring you have the right mix of current and target investors in attendance is critical. Management teams and IROs should analyze their existing shareholder base and understand who the most engaged targets are, as well as identify aspirational investors you want in your base. Once the invite list is established, be sure to communicate the details of the Investor Day effectively. Include the agenda, logistics, and materials that will be presented to your target audience. This helps ensure that investors are adequately prepared for the event and can maximize their engagement with the company’s management team.
5. Optimize the experience
Technology, planned opportunities for investor interaction, and even add-on social time can help round out your Investor Day agenda and keep the experience meaningful, interesting, and engaging from beginning. Be sure to consider and wield every tool for taking full advantage of every minute of your valuable face time with your investors.
- For example, leveraging technology (and everything we’ve learned from hosting virtual events in recent years) can extend the reach and impact of an in-person Investor Day. Consider a branded microsite which can serve as the access point for investors to register, as well as view the agenda and other materials prior to the event. Other options to help optimize the day include live streaming or on-demand video content for investors who are unable to attend in person, as well as interactive tools and platforms for investors to engage with the company and with one another.
- Other elements to increase investor engagement could include a panel for Q&A featuring all presenters and/or other members of the executive team to provide various perspectives. Whether you are fielding questions from the virtual audience or taking in-person comments, it is important to prepare ahead of time and craft a game plan that is optimal for all engaged participants.
- Lastly, once the presentation has concluded, companies should consider closing the day with post-event activities such as lunch or happy hour to provide investors with valuable one-on-one time with the management team.
Any Investor Day worth doing is worth doing right
Investor Days are major undertakings that require management and investors to put in a significant amount of time. While there are plenty of compelling reasons to make the effort, the success of an Investor Day will ultimately depend on getting a wide range of factors right, especially the clarity of the message, quality of materials and presentations, and level of engagement with investors. If you don’t want to leave any of these elements to chance, give us a call. We can help develop and crystalize your message, plan a compelling agenda for your audience, and perfect all the nuances of communicating your strategic goals and performance to create your most successful Investor Day yet.