Situation: Creating a Strategic Investor Relations Program
As part of a broad turnaround effort, we developed a strategic investor relations program for a Fortune-500 retail company. After several years of negative and unpredictable business results, this one-time Wall Street darling was trading at an all-time low. Only a single sell-side analyst continued to follow the stock, and high-turn traders were creating significant share price volatility. Initial perception research showed that management lacked credibility and investors were not confident in the new team’s turnaround plan.
Our Strategic Approach
Working closely with the CEO and his team, and with a leading investor analytics partner, we created a program to attract and obtain the mix of shareholders that could drive the highest sustainable valuation by:
- Positioning the company as a long-term growth and return story
- Broadening and diversifying institutional ownership
- Analyzing financial metrics that drove best-of-breed valuations and the levers the company could pull to impact those metrics
- Using quantitative and qualitative analysis to determine the desired shareholder mix
- Targeting potential shareholders who fit the company’s profile and were most likely to be interested in the story
To implement the strategy, we:
- Designed a plan to heighten management credibility via direct, personal outreach to targeted shareholders.
- Developed a full suite of communication tools including strategic message platforms, presentations, an investor website and social media tools.
- Provided senior management with presentation training and coaching on how to appropriately answer difficult questions, and education on the workings of Wall Street.
- Developed disciplined processes and systems to track activities, manage disclosure and measure and report results and market activities.
- Shareholders fitting the volatility profile decreased 18 percent, while long-term holders were up 25 percent in year one.
- Annual investor perception studies showed marked improvement in just the first year of the program.
- The company’s most preferred target became its largest shareholder, a position they held for more than three years.
- Sell-side analyst coverage increased 500 percent
- The company enjoyed a 1,000 percent increase in the value of its stock by the fourth year of the program.