Dragons’ Den – IR Style

The reality television show Dragons’ Den is an entertaining, CBC, series that gives aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of Venture Capitalists. On December 5th CIRI BC did an excellent job at recreating the entertaining reality series – IR style! The chosen dragons are all very experienced and well respected in the IR community. Meghan Brown – Director of Investor Relations at Endeavor Silver, Darren Seed – Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications at Westport Innovations, George Kesteven – Manager, Corporate and Investor Relations with Calgary based Sterling Resources Ltd. All three did an outstanding job at keeping the audience engaged with clever humor and insightful inquiry.

Thank you to CIRI BC’s event, our president, Arash, got to transform into a television star as he pitched Blender Media to the panel. He focused on our services, strengths and unique capabilities.

“We are the only agency that covers and manages all the different stages of a company’s website in house, under one roof.”

“We look at every project through the eyes of an investor.”

 “We’ve worked with all different size companies and we’ve learned to be effective with all of their different timelines and budgets.”

At the end of Arash’s three minute pitch, it was time for the Dragons to make their decision. Meghan instantaneously gave us her support – Darren and George were soon to follow! We are glad that all three Dragons (without hesitation) agreed that Blender has a lot to offer IR professional’s. Thank you for a wonderful night CIRI BC!





Should You Invest in a Responsive Website or a Native Mobile App?

Responsive is really the buzzword of the day and companies are sensing the urgency to move into mobile if they haven’t already. So which do you need? Is it a responsive website or a native mobile app? Or is it both? Take a step back and think about what your company actually needs, and what your objectives are before moving into mobile.

Mobile Search Drives Conversions

One of the biggest advantages of having a responsive mobile website is mobile conversions. Google tells us that 81% of mobile searches are driven by speed and convenience, and 77% mobile searches actually occur at home or at work, where there is likely to have a desktop around for them to use. In other words, the likelihood of investors, analysts and journalists searching for you on their mobile is probably higher than you think. Research shows that 73% of mobile searches trigger additional action and conversions, such as continued research and purchases. Think of mobile search as a key part of the decision-making process and the mobile website is a potential catalyst that speeds up that process to your advantage.

Remember though, responsive is not just a website that responds to different screen sizes, it’s also a functional design that optimizes your website for mobile specifically. It’s a design that gives the website a fluid layout, with necessary spaces and buttons that are touch-friendly.

App as a Communications Platform

The investor relations app provides the company with another platform to optimize their corporate materials for mobile devices. Content could range from stock info, presentations, videos, fact sheets and audio-cast conference calls. Of course, the mobile app would optimize the publicly traded company’s reach as well; but perhaps, the primary focus of the app would be to provide a platform for the company to communicate quickly and effectively with their investors and shareholders. With features such as push notifications and ability to add events to the mobile calendar, companies can connect with its investors on a more intimate level.

At the end of the day, app or website, it really depends on your main objectives. One way to look at it is that, responsive mobile website drives mobile searches and encourages continued search from prospective investors. Native mobile app for investor relations would keep investors informed and shareholders on board with effective communications. Does your website have a responsive website or a mobile app? Let us know, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Using Google to A Better New You (Your Website)

Early last week, Blender Media participated in Google Partners Inspire, a one-day conference which connected many digital agencies in Vancouver. The conference focused on the future of marketing – search ads, mobile, video, online branding and digital ROI. As a digital agency that specializes in investor-focused communications, we’d like to share some of the keynotes with you, and show you how we’d use Google to better IR websites:

“Find your moments that matter.” Do you already know who might want to invest in your company? Think about your potential investors and what they are looking for. Why? This is because Google Adwords can help you find those investors, and reach them through search ads. It is a lot easier to retain the attention of someone who is already interested or has the intent of investing.

“People are turning to the Internet for research.” Institutional investors and analysts are actively seeking for more information. When they get to your website, they will gather the information they need, and form impressions about your corporation. Depending on what they find, they may or may not interact. So type in your website address, and take a five-minute tour. Pretend you’re an investor, think like one and walk through their thought process. Experience what investors would feel when he or she steps into your virtual landscape. Is it easy to navigate? Or would they be easily lost in the mountains of information?

“Focus on relevancy.” One of Google’s key goals is to focus on relevancy. How does this apply to your corporation? It’s the same. Publicly traded companies need to provide relevant content for investors and analysts to evaluate your company. Investments are all about information, so it’s important to have a simple and intuitive information design.

“Relying on the word of mouth? If you are, you’re not doing your digital marketing right.” Word of mouth and traditional advertising is important but you can’t solely rely on it. With digital marketing, you don’t have to wonder if you can reach potential customers. You can control and show your ad to the very people who are likely to invest in your company. On top of that, you’ll also be able to find out if people clicked your ad, and which ad is best.


Tune in to Opportunities on Social Media

Despite social media and investor relations are starting to blend, there are still a significant portion of IR professionals that still feel skeptical about it. And it’s completely fair. People always say, the internet never forgets. If you tweet a mistake or accidentally disclose something unintentionally, it could have permanent consequences. However, after the SEC announced its new social media policy, the usage of social media is growing. If you’re still hesitant about mixing social media with investor relations, but also curious about this new public space, you’re reading the right article. Here’s the safest way to explore the investor relations community via social media: Listen.

Listening is the first step. We understand that one of the biggest setbacks for publicly traded companies is making inadvertent disclosures via social media. But listening doesn’t hurt! It’s the safest way to join conversations, in other words, a safe start to social media.

If you’re not listening, you’re missing out. Institutional investors and analysts are beginning to use social media to gather information and form impressions about companies. NIRI conducted a survey, and it shows that IROs are using the following forms of social media: Twitter (72%), webcasts (50%), LinkedIn (38%), Facebook (33%), StockTwits (25%), YouTube (23%), RSS feeds/other web feeds (20%), and Slideshare (15%). Take some time to listen what others are saying on the #irchat on Twitter, or tune into a investor relations webcast, they might provide you with new information and insights.

We’re listening already, so what’s next? Your company might want to consider creating a social media disclosure policy. It’ll come in handy when your company decides to utilize social media. Set clear goals and develop a social media strategy. What would your company like to achieve? Generate leads? Raise awareness? All of this will help your corporation decide on the nature of your social media channel, and what kind of content you’d be disseminating.

[Credits to IRMagazine and Marketwire’s webinar, Social media Roadmap for Investor Relations]

The Easiest Ways Not to Get Hacked

Your corporation feels greatly accomplished with its newly revamped IR website, and the social networks it has recently set up. Now wouldn’t it be a shame if those accounts get hacked? The Internet is the creation of a new public space, and we can never stress enough on the importance of online protection. Other than choosing a safe web-hosting server, there is no doubt that passwords matter. So, here are some handy tips and helpful reminders:

What’s a bad password? ‘Password’ is of course the worst! Careful not to fall into these traps:
–          Don’t use only letters or only numbers
–          Don’t use phone numbers, ID card numbers or birthdates
–          Don’t use the name of your company or department
–          Don’t use your company’s slogan or tagline

Just create a strong password! That’s what they always tell you, but how? Simple!
–          Make it at least eight characters in length and
–          Use a combination of upper & lower-case letters, numbers and symbols (if possible)
–          Try to make up a short passphrase (if the word limit allows you to)
–          Substitute letters for numbers (say, an ‘i’ with a ‘1’)

Change your password often. It is recommended to change passwords every 30-90 days!

Don’t use the same passwords. Of course, because that would mean if they hack one, they hack everything.

Take advantage of the two-step authentication process! Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are already using this secure entry. What happens is that, when you log in from a new electronic device, you’d receive temporary PIN via SMS text message. After you type in both your password and PIN, you can successfully log in.

Control what is public and visible. Logins generally use email addresses as usernames so, double check if your public profiles on Google+ or Facebook page reveal your login email address. It makes it a little more difficult for people to guess and hack If they don’t have the email address to begin with.

Whenever you can opt for email alert, do it. This is so that, if there are password changes without your permission, you get notified and be able to fix the problem immediately.

Authenticate with a simple voice passphrase. Yes, voice biometric technology now allows us to replace a password or PIN with a phrase spoken out loud. T-Mobile, Turkcell, and Foxtel are already currently using Nuance’s voice biometrics. It’ll be interesting to see this technology integrated into mobile apps, websites and call centers!

Have other tips or tools that you use to protect your online data? Share them here! @BlenderMedia

Tips to Boost Your IR Website’s Credibility

Numbers aside, is your IR website communicating the qualitative information (sometimes referred to as soft metrics) to investors? While most investors and analysts focus heavily on quantitative factors, qualitative analysis is also an important supplement for them when it comes to investment decisions. Investment professionals gather these data to gain an overall better understanding of how the company functions and how its business may potentially benefit them as shareholders.

Barron’s Investor Group’s research tells us, the top three qualitative factors are:
–        Sound business strategy
–        Strong management team
–        Ethical business practices

Investopedia.com also gives us insight to what some of the usuals are:
–        Business model
–        Competitive advantage in the industry
–        Management
–        Corporate governance
–        Employee Satisfaction

Most of this information would fall under ‘About Us’ page and this is why it’s so important to have a well-written and designed ‘About Us’. Ask yourself these questions: Does the tagline and summary convey your business model and strategies? Do you have information bullet-pointed and explained clearly? Would investors know how your company plans to innovate, compete and grow? The ‘About Us’ section would most likely need a lot of interior pages to give your website a good information scent. Best advice summarized: make facts concise, make key points ‘scannable’, and make the language simple and candid.

According to Michael Kramer’s article on socially responsible investors, “investors want to invest in companies that can turn a profit without comprising the health and welfare of people or degrading the environment that supports our communities and economy.” If your corporation values social responsibility, does the IR website reflect upon that? To encourage socially responsible investing, it would be useful to have a section on your IR website that highlights your values and ethics. Don’t let those efforts go to waste; inform investors and analysts of your approach and commitment to sustainability!

If you have any questions regarding the design of your IR website, never hesitate, just give us a call or an email. We’d love to hear from you! @BlenderMedia

3 Ways to Give Investors Virtual Hugs

Doesn’t matter what kind of company you are, private or public, there is always competition. One way to make your company memorable is actually fairly simple, just show that you care. Brands are starting to forget that – whether its investors or consumers – if you want them to invest in you, you have to invest in them first.

Here are some ways to show investors your caring side:

Show them what they’d like to see. Results are ultimately what investors are looking for because their decision to invest in you depends on it. They’d want to know what projects you’re currently working on and what you’ve previously achieved as well. To do so, you could have a page dedicated to projects and any case studies you’d like to showcase. What investors might also like to see would be your numbers and financial growth etc. It’s always important to organize these in a place that is easy to locate. It’ll make investors lives easier and they’ll thank you for it!

Humanize your brand. You can try adding inquiry forms on your website so that investors can fill them in and request for more information. Some public companies also call investors back to follow up, and ask if there is anything additional they could provide for them. Asking for feedback doesn’t only show you care, it also humanizes your company. Investors want to be dealing with real people, rather than just a name. It also helps investors feel more invested and attached to your company.

It’s all about the extras. It is a little time consuming to write them a customized tweet, to create an animation video etc., but it’s always the little things that count. If your video informs them on how your technologies work or what your mining site looks like, investors can visualize your company better. This makes you more memorable, and it’ll allow you to set your company apart from your competition. By going the extra mile, investors are less likely to feel skeptical and instead, your company will be more transparent too.


How to Retain Your Online Credibility

Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. We put in a lot of work in design to better represent publicly traded companies online. Our goal is always to portray the best, so that trust immediately transpires to investors when they land on their website.

To help you capture and maintain investor confidence on a long-term basis, we’ve got some handy tips for you:

Check for bad spelling, grammar mistakes and typos
Grammar and spelling mistakes can sometimes change the meaning of your sentences entirely. And typos just make you look unprofessional. Wehn tht haapens, wat credibilty do you hve?  It’s the easiest one, so double and triple-check before you let your work go live on the internet.

Fix broken links and never let a line of <coding> appear
Broken links can break your image, literally. When they see the “404 Error Pages”, it’s not only going to frustrate the investors, it might actually cause them to think your company is: inconsistent, poorly managed or badly presented… well, basically, anything but credible. Revive dead links and glue broken ones back together – or just let us handle the gobbledygook for you.

Be human and show your brand
Would you trust someone that’s faceless? I certainly wouldn’t. And I doubt investors would too. Brands often overlook the importance of a human touch. Let it be photographs, videos, or testimonials and endorsements, they all add a sense of authenticity to your brand story. It’ll make your corporation more sincere and reliable. Why? Because it feels real that way. Working with real people and making real connections.

Give sufficient proof
Smart investors are not going to invest in you blindly. So always give them the information they need to make a decision. Years of experience, good liquidity, strong financials, compelling growth, reserves and resources, stock info, and etc., display it all on one page. Then it’ll be easy to locate. This will give them a reason to trust you.

Expose yourself online
When investors type your company name in search engines and see no signs of you… some may actually jump to conclusion that you don’t exist. Or just move on to another company and make other investments. It’s important to best present yourself, but keeping a regular online presence also increases your trust factor. Search engine marketing and social media strategies will achieve this for you, and in result of that, your company will be more open to new opportunities as well!

Apps for Working Remotely on the Cloud

Going on a business trip but you still want to be virtually in the office?

Or do you need to work from home and remain present at your workplace?

Here are some apps that’ll help you out:

GoToMeeting allows you to host web conferencing and online meetings, so you can work with anyone, anywhere. It has the standard face-to-face online meetings and share screen functionalities on desktops, and also a free universal app that works on iPhone, iPad, and Androids. So when you’re away from the office or just without a desktop, you can still schedule or join virtual meetings, save the appointment directly to your calendar, present content using iPad, brainstorm with the team with a highlighter and whiteboard, see HDFaces video on iPad, and dial in over the device.

CloudOn is an app that gives you full power of applications like Microsoft Office to your tablet and smartphone. So if you’re on-the-go, you can still create a presentation or edit a document, and quickly share it. So from inserting formulas, to renaming the file, or just changing the font, you can achieve it with CloudOn. It also gives you the option to share the files via email, and store it on your Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft SkyDrive too.

How to Turn Employees into Brand Ambassadors

In order to build relationships that drive results and take full advantage of social media, it’s important you don’t do it alone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a company of 2, 10, 100,000 employees, social media is social. If you want to succeed, you can’t do social media alone. Motivated employees are role models, and motivated employees with social media are role models on display – the absolute best online promotion for your brand.

Here’s how you can leverage your employees to become your biggest advocates:

Celebrate corporate pride. Before you think about building your follower community, take a step back and check if your employees are following your company page. “Employees are your most reliable advocates”, says LinkedIn. Let them show their corporate pride by clicking like and follow. It’s always the first step.

Encourage employees to uncover. Say if investors come across your LinkedIn company page, you wouldn’t want them to think your employees are face-less and suspiciously lacking information right? Think transparency. This also applies to your management team and employees, so encourage them to complete their social media profiles. Your employees’ online presence also represents your brand.

Spread the word. Employees are 70% more likely to engage with your social media content (source: LinkedIn). If your employees are that 30% that doesn’t like to share your corporate content, find out why. Because when employees engage, that action spreads through their network as an update on news feed, which will expand your company’s reach and increase online exposure. It’ll also motivate their network of friends and professionals to like and follow your company.

Be authentic and approachable. When employees speak to clients or investors, they interact with them and get to know them first-hand via emails and phone calls. They understand the clients better than you. They know what articles might interest them and whatnot. If you encourage your employees to connect with them through social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, it adds that bit of personal touch that makes a difference.

Stay social and professional. Some employees might be hesitant and think, social media might muddle up their work and personal lives together. Of course, it’s important to draw a line between the two. Inform your employees that, on Facebook, they can create lists to organize their contacts and control what is being shown to whom. Or sit down during lunch and discuss hashtag etiquette on Twitter. Let them know they can have the best of both worlds.

The social media boom is too big for companies to ignore, and it’s a given that companies in the tech and digital industry should tune in. Social media is good in moderation and it is best when you know how to use it to your advantage. What are your thoughts? Give us a ring or tweet us @BlenderMedia, we’re always looking for feedback!