creative integrated marketing

We are a creative integrated marketing consultancy specialising in 4 business areas: Business Services, Financial Services, Automotive Aftermarket and Recruitment Advertising. These blogs tell of some of our experiences working in these business areas.

8 January 2014

The power of video in investor relations

Have you ever met an IRO who wasn't concerned about investor engagement and whether existing investors and prospects were sufficiently focused and committed long term to their business? IROs know it isn't enough to say the business is "transparent". Businesses need to demonstrate it - and PowerPoint and annual reports are no longer enough. Increasingly, video is being employed with tremendous effect and impact. Why? It's because video can tell a compelling story that connects with investors.

Why video: what has changed in the last five years?
Investors can be a tough bunch. Herd-like, nervous, cynical sometimes and demanding. They like to tick boxes, they dislike surprises and extravagance, and they need both convincing about an investment or recommitment case, and appreciate tools that help them prepare investment recommendations internally for colleagues and investment committees. PowerPoint, however well structured and crafted, seldom does justice to the issues that many investors are pre-occupied with these days - depth of management talent, product advantages of a business, service differentiation, the size and growth of a market or opportunity, customer loyalty, 'stickiness' and so-on.

Traditional annual reports, important though they are, can suffer from similar limitations because they are static, one dimensional and don't provide an 'experience' for investors. They're simply a snapshot. They can be quickly discarded or filed.

Investor videos enable companies to forge deeper, more meaningful connections with investors. They draw on video and web hosting and adapt in a very specific way to the investor audience.

The role of video in today's investor environment
Video is increasingly used across a range of investor "touch points" - investor days, annual results uploaded and streamed across the FT.com investor portal among others, IR dedicated portals, and to support and bring alive specific company initiatives, projects or partnerships for example that businesses want to flag to investors. They don't replace a CEO presentation, they augment it in a way that enables investors to 'live' and 'breath' the senior management style, direction and focus in ways that no PowerPoint alone can deliver.

Authenticity and ESG communicated persuasively and personally
Video enables authenticity. The most effective are not necessarily fronted by CEOs. Instead, they are fronted by middle or divisional managers, responding to unscripted messages within a pre-agreed framework or context. They deal with the good work they are focused on, what they are passionate about, and the results they are witnessing.

Videos of this nature can be immensely valuable. They can underline middle and senior management talent. They can bring divisional management to life. They can be emotive and can join-up operational activity. Also, they can be used to illustrate the corporate drive and success within a business and deal with underlying operational niggles which many investors routinely worry about.

Giving investors the insight they need
An investor video can take an audience inside a factory, warehouse or supply chain network. Video can present a business operation and its focus, momentum and quality and provide a "virtual experience" as good as if the investor had flown out to experience it firsthand. It can reinforce deep operational issues, quality control, risk management and attention to detail which is important to investor communities and which 'say' much about the direction senior management are taking the business - mixing content and style. Video can cross borders, articulate culture and build or enhance your brand experience. This adds to investor engagement in every sense.

Making the intangible concrete
Investors rarely have more than a glancing familiarity with a company's product and specific activity. Hedge Funds, Life Settlement, Infrastructure, Private Equity firms for example all have specific investment activity representing nuances and detail investors just don't have time to absorb in detail regularly. Take Life Sciences for example. Investors are not scientists or medical clinicians. They seldom have deep technical knowledge. Yet companies including asset and fund managers need to bring an innovation to life and demonstrate application, industry acceptance and impact in the market. Imagine a medical device that could enable open surgery on a beating heart without the need to stop the heart. A well executed video, dynamically conveying market need, the device, touching upon R&D, manufacture and perhaps showing a surgeon just leaving theatre having used the device and talking to camera with a cutaway of the medical institution, would (a) bring the device to life (b) convey innovation, (c) communicate relevance and application, (d) instil confidence in the device and its ability to meet a clinical need. It could be used to help keep CE and FDA regulators abreast of development and act as a catalyst for follow-on investors (future funding rounds or trade buyers ) to help maximise the exit price for the developer. Above all, it would communicate to investors and their internal colleagues, the kind of investment opportunity their capital would / is accessing. At anywhere from £6,000 - £10,000 for a high quality end result, what's not to like?

Do's and dont's

  • Avoid stereotyped script "this is a great firm to work for". It's not what investors want to hear.
  • Don't roll out the CEO if they are "wooden" and lack personality.
  • Do frame the underlying message by thinking about what investors will relate to and what is important to them. Think about whether the video can draw upon the corporate brand or whether you need to create an investor relations brand. Refer to "Managing investor relations marketing: and your brand" (AEP Advertising, December 2013).
  • Do spend time on graphics, music and editing - remember the end result needs to work linguistically and culturally cross border. It's about engagement - it's not just a broadcast.

Chris Abraham heads AEP Advertising - a strategic brand, corporate and investor relations agency working with corporate clients and financial service businesses including asset managers and Alternative Asset clients. Clients seek IR marketing communications solutions and to broaden their investor footprint, or engage existing investors to secure recommitment. Perceptions research, IR comms and strategic advertising is used to protect and build investor relationships in combination. To discuss your options and eVideo, contact Chris Abraham on +44 207 580 1806 or chris@abrahamellis.co.ukchris@abrahamellis.co.uk.

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AEP Advertising We are a b2b and b2c agency providing integrated branding, strategic and lead generation marketing communications. We have deep specialist knowledge in the business services, financial services, automotive and recruitment advertising sectors spanning over 40 years.



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