Senior analyst relations professionals from across Europe have agreed to launch a professional institute. A meeting in London yesterday gathered together members of Europe’s two analyst relations networks to agree the goals, membership requirements and organisational framework for a new international association. Half of us went for dinner afterwards, and Marius’ photograph gives an idea of how convivial the meeting was.
The institute will aim to be a voice for analyst relations professionals and a framework to support their professional development. A meeting will be held on Thursday July 13 to register the progress planned over the coming months.
Lighthouse is very positive about this development. We think there are a number of tasks that this institute could take up.
- It’s clear that an open dialogue is needed between the analysts relations community and the analyst firms on best practice. On many issues, one side has no idea of the frustrations with the other side.
- Work needs to be done to promote the profession. PR agencies and AR consultancies have failed to co-operate to educate the industry about the specific and separate role of analyst relations. Too often, analyst relations is subordinated to the methods and tactics of media relations. By co-operating, we can clarify the specific role of AR professionals.
- Professional development of AR professionals is weak. There are few training courses, and they are a poor substitute for the coaching, mentoring and learning-by-doing that is really needed to develop effective, self-confident, AR professionals.
- Worldwide, analyst relations needs to resolve the cultural imbalance. A pragmatic, transactional and curtly neutral way of working has been coupled to an extreme narrowness in the information shared with analysts. This unnecessarily obstructs effective analyst relations outside the United States. An institute could point out the counterbalancing cultural norms, and help AR managers to adapt global communications approaches to better meet local needs.
- We can encourage local or specialist networks to help people to build up contact with AR professionals in the same area. The meeting agreed that members should be able to set up open subcommittees look on particular topics or that bring together people in the same geography. Here’s an example. At the dinner after the meeting I was talking to an attendee from Germany: it’s clear that there is more than enough interest there to develop a German committee.
- The accelerating rate of change in the analyst industry means that new firms can win greater traction with greater speed. We can use an institute to develop and share our appreciation of the analyst landscape.
The professionals who met yesterday are keen to take one step at a time. It would be foolhardy to attempt too much, too soon. However, the appetite is there to build a serious, open professional body. Serious membership fees will be levied to fund part-time staff. Membership will be open to all with an interest in analyst relations: we have no interest in excluding those with something to contribute (the only exclusion: analyst firms’ staff may not join). A formal managing committee will rotate its members, to maximize participation.
An online group has been set up for the Institute. If you’d like to get in touch please email analystrelations-owner at yahoogroups dot com (Correspondance will go to a committee, so don’t expect a quick reply).
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