Squeeze up and share more
Large cap companies warned that everyone is competing for Investor Day attention in a virtual environment at the same time later in the year.
Investors had better prepare themselves for an onslaught. Analysis during June and July 2020 by Bladonmore suggests that so many large companies across North America, Europe and Asia have moved their pre-Summer investor days to the Autumn this year that there will likely be a real crunch in the competition for capital. And yet investors want more detail than ever.
“It’s a fairly clear pattern,” says Richard Carpenter, Managing Partner at Bladonmore, the specialist communications consultancy. “During March and April we saw hundreds of companies postpone their pre-Summer face-to-face Investor Days as the pandemic unfolded and lockdowns began.” Those postponing included many big names – from Pfizer and Target in the States, to Lagardere and Deutsche Borse in Europe. “Several of them have already favoured an alternative Autumn date – with, mainly, virtual events now beginning to crystallize around late September and October. We can see a real competition for attention from investors around that time.”
There are traditionally two windows of opportunity for large-scale Investor Days or Capital Markets Days in the year as companies cram them into the calendar around results – between March and early July and then again between September and late November. “The pandemic has effectively wiped out one half of the options,” adds Carpenter. “That means everyone is squeezed into the second phase and key events are competing for the same audience. That’s normal around results time – less normal when you want to make a real impact with your Investor Day. Guidance also fell like dominoes from every company that issued a public utterance from March onwards. Q2 results is seeing all of our clients who did this come under more pressure to give updated guidance for a world in which Covid might linger for multiple quarters.”
Investor Days usually revolve around companies revealing a new strategy, providing a more in-depth insight into their divisions, or hammering home an element of their story that the market has not always understood. They take time to prepare and companies usually look for a deeper understanding from investors – and an impact on their share price accordingly.
“The fight for attention will be greater than normal and, likely more virtual than normal. So our advice to companies is threefold: make sure you get your date out to the market early doors; ensure that you have a great story to unfold in a virtual world as people are fairly jaded with Zoom/Teams presentations; and take the time to check that your messaging and presenters work well in a virtual environment. It’s really not the same as a face-to-face meeting – it takes a different type of expertise and presentation.”
“We’re also seeing investors bringing new levels of expectations to bear on management teams,” continues Carpenter. “Earlier in the year they were willing to accept a lack of visibility on one hand while using their other hand to fund rights issues and strengthen balance sheets. Now they want more information. What is your plan if this lasts for another 12 months? What does that do to analyst and investor models?”
Bladonmore helps companies run and prepare large-scale Capital Markets days, with expertise in messaging, training senior executives, content creation, and high-level production of virtual and live events.