November 23 2020
Corporate stocks have seen a rollercoaster year due to Covid-19, political turmoil and social unrest all impacting market sentiments. And now news on the vaccines have arrived and are spreading hope on the stock markets again.
How can publicly traded companies – especially midcaps and small firms not sitting on large marketing budgets – keep their brands visible in an environment like this? What and how to communicate to make their name visible to investors?
There are a few simple ways available to all companies regardless of size, market cap and communications budgets to promote themselves and elevate the visibility of their stock in the vast universe of the stock market. All of these techniques are relatively easy to implement and do not involve substantial costs. Plus, having been sitting on the receiving end as a financial journalist for many years, I can vouch for their efficiency now as a communications counsel, as well.
Sounds simple, but keeping communications regular is the bottom line. Issue regular reports on your company and live up to your transparency policy. Here I am referring to very specific information, not those general stock market figures such as sales, book value or ebitda, but the more telling sector, industry or corporate specific details such as updates on plans, market expectations and new policies you implement. Furthermore, don’t just communicate them to current shareholders only, but make them available on the company website and to the press. These days many reports on the general numbers are issued by brokerage houses and stock analysts, and because of that many companies choose to issue their numbers only once a year in their annual reports or at shareholders meetings. That model belongs to the past. Take initiative and be your own voice about your own business.
Join the latest trends and policies, take part in them and communicate about your involvement. When you take one of the latest trends, sustainability, you can see it’s not enough any more to say the company supports it, you have to practice it and you have to report on your practices regularly to make your stance credible. If you choose to embrace other issues such as diversity or cybersecurity, it’s the same: show what you do, how you contribute and what change you are making. Such involvement and activism are especially applauded by investors. So don’t be bothered by how much the press covers such positive information, but make sure your activities are communicated and the information is visible in your own channels.
Many companies choose to stay quiet and secretive as a simple method to comply with cap markets rules on communications. Don’t follow them if you seek to stand out. You surely have plenty of corporate news you are sitting on. Put them to use for your visibility. Don’t be afraid to announce regularly such new developments as new purchase or sales agreements, delivery of a large order, expansion plans, new hires, etc. In this way, the name of your stock and the company will remain current in the media and analysts will talk about it, when looking for examples.
Use every opportunity to generate positive coverage. If you are in an industry with strong customer service demands, such as retail or consumer services, you can be sure there will be negative messages about your brand from time to time, such as customer complaints on social media. When a customer, a shareholder or a potential investor googles your company such negative comments seem to appear first. Your ability to resolve such negative comments and the underlying situations and your ability to generate positive news about your brand will increase your corporate reputation and will help reduce negative messages.
Don’t only look at your company, but look beyond when looking for communications topics. The future is always an exciting subject for your customers and shareholders no matter what industry you are in. For example, if your company is in automotives, you cannot miss talking about electric or autonomous vehicles or AI in transport. If your venture is in agriculture or food, generate conversation about climate change, water use and waste management to show where you stand on those issues. Similar opportunities arise if you are in technology, education, and many other industries.
Connect your company and the stock with positive and forward looking topics. You will not only stand out from the crowd, but will also give reasons to your shareholders to keep on to your stocks for the long term.