I, like others am driven to compete, produce the best results….or in other words, Win!
I know that I am not alone in this, and am competing for analysts time and attention, not to mention doing everything I can for the highest rating possible. So I instinctively know that others are sucking up the remaining analyst time with a message that favors them once my time is up. So I have to get the time, and make it as meaningful as possible.
I rely on a few tactics that have morphed over the years, but are still true today.
NUMBER 1, IT’S ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP
This takes time, but it is important to know the other person. I take the time to talk about their children, pets, or at least read their social media which tells me about them as a person. This can set the tone for a relationship, and you also can find the common ground to have more than just a perfunctory relationship.
What do you get out of it? Many things like trust (which matters in good or bad times), an answered email, tweet, or any other form of communication. I talk to analysts and they frankly have email overload and/or avoidance. That means if they see it from you, there is a decision on whether to look at it (or take the call) or brush it off to the dustpile.
My advice is to take the time to build a relationship by knowing them, then helping them by going out of your way to make the transaction more meaningful. You will see results from it, like the answer you were looking for. It’s almost like real estate but instead of location, it’s relationship, relationship, relationship.
NUMBER 2, WHAT IS THEIR BACK CHANNEL
Further on the issue of communicating with the analyst is how to avoid their overload. There is some method they choose that they rank as the one to answer. It could be twitter, email (a personal account could be an option here), a text….whatever. Once you build the relationship, ask them in a crunch, how can I reach you. Murphy’ law will come into play at some point. The analyst will be unavailable when you need them (right now) and the back channel is the way.
A word of advice. If you abuse this, it negates the purpose of having a back channel.
NUMBER 3, IS MY EXECUTIVE THE BEST HE/SHE CAN BE?
At some point, it’s the executive and the analyst and it’s out of your hands. The can make or break it for you. Pick the right one for the right briefing. Tell them how to answer to the analyst base on the relationship you have built and their nuances.
Another issue is how and what you tell. Sometimes you can state the obvious. Other times you need to absolutely not answer a question that will sink your ship. Having the executive ready to know where the landmines are. One in A/R must realize that not all are called out to be an effective spokesperson. Here is a discourse on executives.
If they fall down and you know it, you have to get back to the analyst and sweep up the damage. Get another executive or knowlegable person to fix the mess.
The best of all worlds is when you get the relationship (here’s that word again) with and executive, and they know how to tell the right story and they build a relationship with analyst also.
Point of interest: You must also make sure that they know the difference between a press briefing and an analyst briefing. What is off limits and how far can you push the information limits (NDA may be needed). I want my execs to tell almost everything including some warts. This makes the story believable, especially when you are early in the announcement cycle. This gets you buy in, or if you know a certain analyst is anti-your-message, you’ll know not to go there at announcement time.
Is this a comprehensive list, by no means, mostly because you are dealing with people so outcomes are not predictable. Will it work? Most times as long as you stick to the rules. Will you have issues or times when everything falls apart? Yes, and you have to pick yourself up and begin again, it could even lead you to a better relationship.
I graduated from the school of hard knocks, with a PH.D. If I’d have known this earlier on in my career, it would have avoided many troubling times. Perhaps that’s how I learned to use these tactics?
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