From traditional meetings to influencer events, the landscape of investor relations is evolving. Join Martin Link and Ilka Freund as they discuss the future of IR and the power of digital engagement.
Over the past few years, the traditional methods of engagement in the Investor Relations space have been tried and tested.
And as the digital age continues to evolve, so too must the strategies employed by companies to connect with their stakeholders.
Enter the realm of modern influencer-driven investor relations—a fresh and innovative approach that's been gaining traction, especially among companies keen on tapping into the younger demographic.
But how does one navigate this new territory? And more importantly, how can it be effectively integrated into the broader investor relations strategy?
This is where the insights from Martin Link and Ilka Freund of Bechtle AG come into play. Bechtle AG, a renowned IT company, has been at the forefront of this shift, embracing influencer relations as a key component of their investor relations strategy.
Their journey began with a clear objective: to reach and engage a younger audience, a demographic that had been somewhat elusive using traditional methods. To achieve this, they collaborated with prominent finfluencers such as Lisa Osada and Jonathan from Abel Tato. These collaborations culminated in events that not only resonated with the younger audience but also garnered significant positive feedback on social media platforms—a testament to their success.
But the story doesn't end there.
Beyond these influencer-driven events, Bechtle AG has been proactive in crafting a comprehensive digital strategy for investor relations. This includes a consistent presence on social media, engaging posts, and fostering a vibrant online community where stakeholders can connect, discuss, and share insights.
The key takeaway from Martin and Ilka's discourse is the emphasis on adaptability and open-mindedness. In a rapidly changing landscape, clinging to age-old methods can be limiting. By being receptive to new approaches and understanding the nuances of different target groups, companies can craft more effective and resonant investor relations strategies.
So, what can other companies learn from Bechtle AG's foray into influencer relations? And how can they replicate this success in their own investor relations endeavors?
In this Street Tweets episode, Martin Link and Ilka Freund join host Julia Stoetzel to delve deep into their experiences, sharing invaluable insights, challenges faced, and the strategies that worked for them. Their candid conversation offers a roadmap for others looking to venture into this exciting domain.
Here are some standout moments and key insights from this enlightening session with Martin and Ilka:
Key Takeaway #1: Be open-minded and willing to try new things in investor relations, such as working with influencers and using social media. Embracing modern strategies can significantly expand your reach and resonate with a broader audience.
Here’s what Ilka had to tell us about this based on her personal experience:
“I also interviewed some social media specialists and also some general online media specialists. And at the end, really, I found out that social media is a very good communication channel for investor relations, especially in terms of you want to achieve younger people, as we already talked about. And because of that, I really said that we need to do more on social media. I mean, Martin already did it in the past. He also posted some things when he has been on conferences or on road shows, on stuff like that. But after my project, I said, okay, we need a plan, we need posts.”
In the digital age, a progressive approach to investor relations is not just beneficial—it's essential.
Key Takeaway #2: Engaging with a younger audience and retail investors through influencer events can have a positive impact on the company's image. This strategy fosters a connection with a demographic that's shaping the future of investing—as Martin mentions:
“We had these events before. This was classic events with banks. And as Rica mentioned, the majority of people attending was 60 plus. And we say nothing against these shareholders. The retail shareholders are important. But then in 2019 was an event with the Facebook community dividend strategy. Dividend strategy. And I was so amazed to see 200 mainly young people. They didn't get anything. They had to pay for their food, they had to pay for their drinks. They just have been interested because the elderly people, you can suppose some of them come for coffee and cake, but that's okay. But I was really amazed to see that. And I came back and said we must do something to address these people who are really interested, who don't expect anything for free, but just come because they want to learn something.”
By aligning with the preferences of the next generation, companies can position themselves as forward-thinking and relevant.
Key Takeaway #3: Diversity in the investor relations team, including age and gender diversity, can bring fresh perspectives and help reach different target groups. During our conversation, Martin mentions that diverse team reflects a broader range of experiences and insights, ensuring a more comprehensive approach:
“Diversity, it's very important as well. We are team of four people, two team members, myself and my colleague Julia, above 52, team members under 30. That's, from my point of view, perfect mix. Two women, two men, perfect mix. We couldn't have realized these events without the help of Ilka and Frank, our under 30 colleagues. I don't know. Surely I can write emails to Lisa or to Jonathan, but I don't have the overview of influencers. It would have been hard work for me. And getting, let's say, discussing with them, getting the feedback, is this the right way? Can we reach a target group? Can we reach a community that is so important? If you have a team of only, let's say above 40, above 50 people, I think maybe it will be harder for you to think about these things because you are in the daily routine and no one is asking is this a good thing? So a really good mix.”
Embracing diversity is not just about representation; it's about enriching the quality of investor relations.
Key Takeaway #4: When it comes to broadening investor communications through social media, it also helps to tap into female influencers—this not only challenges the notion of investing being male-dominated, but it taps into a previously-overlooked market. Female influencers can provide unique perspectives and connect with audiences that might have been previously underserved.
During our conversation, Martin emphasized the growing need to follow this approach, saying:
“Adding to that, I'm now in the role as a feminist. But we had from the first day the goal to address female influencers. We have nothing against male influencers, we address them as well, but knowing that the majority in the financial world is male, we wanted to highlight that there is a female influencer world as well. And our first event was with Lisa Osada. So we were very happy to have our first event, a female influencer.”
Leveraging the power of female voices in the investment world amplifies inclusivity and broadens market reach.
Key Takeaway #5: Approaching investor relations with the same traditional mindset and strategies that were used 20 years ago is one way to set yourself up for lackluster results—IR and the investment landscape are evolving, and the same should be the case for your approach. According to Martin, adapting to the changing times ensures that you remain relevant and effective in your communications:
“So therefore the tip would be although if you as an IR manager are completely not interested in anything [related to social media], have a look on it, think about maybe it is not interesting for yourself, but maybe it's interesting for your target group. And the target group are not only institutional investors, retail investors are an important from my point of view, an important target group as well. Maybe not so much about shareholding, but maybe a little bit more about what you mentioned, about being a multiplicator, transporting a positive image of the company. If we do the same thing that we did ten or 20 years ago, it will be hard to be successful in the future.”
Stagnation in strategy is a missed opportunity; modernizing your approach is the key to future success.
Influencer relations have proven to be a powerful tool in Bechtle AG's investor relations strategy.
By collaborating with influencers, the company has successfully engaged with a younger demographic and increased awareness of their brand. And the positive feedback and organic posts generated after the events demonstrate the impact of influencer relations on the company's image and reputation.
As more companies recognize the potential of influencer relations, we can expect to see this strategy become more prevalent in the investor relations landscape. The key to success lies in being open-minded, embracing diversity, and adapting to the evolving needs and preferences of stakeholders.