Corporate Eye

What Makes for Effective Investor Relations Sites? (Part 1)

At the suggestion of our Executive Editor, today’s entry marks the first in a series of interrelated pieces examining what makes for good corporate investor relations web sites. The intention is to try and lay out a template for companies to think about as they communicate with their investors via the Internet by highlighting good examples from across the web.

compass group investor relations page

It’s always best to start with the basics, and for investors that means giving them a clear understanding of what it is your company does. It is surprising how many companies omit this first step, perhaps working on the assumption that because a person has made it to the investor page, they know what the company does. However, this overlooks several factors. When an investor does a search on a company name, many search engines show a link directly to the investor relations page of the company, bypassing the company’s home page and all of the explanatory information that resides there. Second, people coming to the investor page may be familiar with the brand name of a company, but not fully understand the entire range of products or markets the company serves. Finally, truly savvy investors will peruse a statement to get an understanding of how the company thinks about itself.

What I look for is fairly straightforward: simple declarative sentences, devoid of consultant-speak, which accurately portray the company and its markets. It doesn’t have to be too lengthy or detailed as there is certain to be much information elsewhere on the site, but it should give a clear and concise picture of the company. This is often harder to do than it appears, as many companies have evolved into complex entities in disparate markets, but with careful thought diligence and editing, it can be done.

For example, I found the Compass Group did an effective job on their Investor Centre Homepage:

“Compass Group is the world’s leading foodservice company. Our 388,000 employees specialise in providing food, vending and related services on our clients’ premises and we generate annual revenues of over £11 billion.  The company operates across the following core sectors of Business and Industry (B&I), Defence, Offshore & Remote Site, Healthcare, Education, Sports & Leisure and Vending with an established brand portfolio.”

In three short sentences, Compass Group has told us the industry they are in, how large they are in terms of sales and employees, their market position and the industry sectors they serve. Further, you get the impression that they are efficient and direct in the way they think about things. That’s a pretty good introduction to their investors.

Next post in this series: Provide a Roadmap

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John Palizza

John recently retired as a Lecturer in Management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Management, where he taught investor relations. Prior to that, John was in charge of investor relations for Sysco Corporation and Walgreen Co. He holds a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a law degree from Loyola University of Chicago. You can learn more about John’s thinking about investor relations at his blog, Investor Relations Musings.