Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ownership of Social Media- Marketing(AR,PR)/HR/C office? Who directs the dialogue? Or is a Social Media Department setup- need of the hour?

According to me the liaison should be owned and directed by the latter with the individual stakeholder's at any firm aligned to the firm's culture and philosophy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The uncertainty of the certain!

The interesting fact of life is that there is uncertainty of certainty and there is little that you can do to ensure that you and the ones associated with you have minimal impact of this uncertainty.

There is certainty of few facts of life but their occurence and possible impact with the amticipated timelines are uncertain.

Life's experience has taught that we need to be prepared every second every moment of our lives to bravely face this uncertainty of certainty.

Best wishes to be strong and capable to face the uncertainty of certainty.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Consolidation is in the air!

The recession has brought out some contrast changes in the market over the last year.
Consolidation has marked its impact on almost all entities... financial institutions, technology providers and also industry analyst firms.
Though much of it is experienced by North America, it has not been limited to this territory alone. All of the globe has been impacted and market doesnt seem to be the same.

Bigger players have become bigger or have completely bailed out, medium sized firms are still struggling to create and maintain their presence and most of the smaller firms have either closed, sold or merged.

If you have seen the movie 2012 which suggests that the earth's map gets completely re-painted, the industry analyst landscape is also getting renovated.

We as industry analyst relations professionals only hope to have the consolidation leading us to have better and more intelligent information source being made available to our peers, more innovation to support the solutioning and leveraging IT and Operations to benefit the user community.

With rays of hope guiding the way, all would lead to the best to come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Briefing the analysts...

This piece of information aims to explore the different formats of engagement with a common objective of "briefing" the analyst about the developments in your organization.

Briefing can take place to serve either or combination of the below information sharing objectives:(this is an indicative list only)
  1. Introduction to business
  2. Update on new product/service line
  3. Update on expansion in newer geographies
  4. Update post financial results every quarter
  5. Update in case of leadership changes
  6. Quarterly update on a particular business line to act as a continued discussion of previous quarter engagement

During the "briefing" sessions, most spokespeople tend to provide an overdose of information. Though every piece of information that you want to share is important, the best way would be to note down points in order of importance to be highlighted to the analyst in the limited available time for a briefing which is usually 60 minutes and then have the presentation document most of the other points which the analyst can go back to refer. This enables the analyst to come back to you with requests for additional information or questions if the same is not made available through the presentation document. At the same time you as the company representative tend to highlight the most important differentiators to the analyst which the the analyst can take back with him.

The frequency of this mode of information sharing needs to be just perfect to ensure that the company's services information tends to be on the top of the analyst mind.

Please feel free to write to me in case you have additional questions on this front and i would be happy to provide assistance.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Role and importance of Communications in Analyst Relations

Communications play an integral part in your efforts to maintain effective analyst relations.
Often with the dispersed presence constraint, telephonic reach outs and written communications prove to be the most used modes of interactions with the analyst community and found to be the best working ones.
Written communication mostly works through emails.
Some emails get lost, some get treated as spam. How do you ensure an effective communication medium and continue the intended influence?
There are a few best practices that I have come across in my professional experience in this space and thought of sharing with the YOU.
  1. Keep the communication as direct and relevant as possible. For a manufacturing domain focused research analyst, information on your telecom offerings may or may not be of interest.
  2. Keep the communication concise. Analysts are already bogged down with loads of information sharing and with the capacity of an extra-ordinary human being can only assimilate till a limit. For detailed discussions, open up the verbal communication medium
  3. Put numbers in graphical format so that it is easy to absorb
  4. Keep the communication out of overt sales messages and instead should bring out much of business and technology value
  5. Give client references wherever possible. This will help engage both the communities to open up a common discussion platform of your interest
  6. Experiment with different communication avenues- emails, newsletters, corporate blog notes should all aid here
  7. Keep the messaging consistent and periodic

And last but not least- spell check twice!!!

After all the hard work and efforts you put in, you would not want the analyst to come back with grammatical/spelling corrections:-)

Think from the analyst perspective and provide what is in demand....

The next blog would aim to highlight the verbal communication mode in detail...

Friday, September 4, 2009

What is AR? AR to be or not to be...

Analyst Relations (AR) is an essential marketing function of today's technology and outsourcing organizations.

This brief is for readers who are still unexposed to the marvels of this practice and aims at providing guide to the new joinees of this lively and most interactive profession.

AR has essentially evolved from the - more than a decade old PR function but with a distinct different focus of addressing a particular audience-a select few as against the mass as in the case of PR. The audience in this perspective is the industry research analyst community. These influencers are involved in almost all technology and outsourcing deal pursuits as the buyer community highly depends on the trusted advice and recommendation from them.
The business model of analyst firms work on the premise of conducting industry wide research and through this exercise build an intelligence which becomes relevant to all stakeholders of the game. Analysts gain first hand information both on the buyer and supplier side and with their presumed analytical skills, the analysts define the market potential, trends and future as well as recommend best business partners to build relationships with.

Hence, to enable survival in this competitive environment, every organization missions to build their capability and brand presence in this community in the anticipation that no prospective deal goes untapped and unheard.

The qualifiers of both PR and AR profiles however need to be dominant on the below mentioned traits:
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good networking, relationship building skills
  • In depth understanding of the audience mindset
  • Understanding of the Operational model of the stake holders
  • Knowledge expert of the offering

But with the evolving analyst landscape, an AR PRO now needs to understand the dynamics of individual analyst firms, the changing interest areas of industry analysts to ensure maximum capture of analyst mind share. Some firms still operate region wise some have gone global in the outlook and the way they conduct research. Analyst research priorities shift pretty often and the need to be abreast of these changes become essential to survive in the AR game.

The objective of all analyst interactions remains to ensure top of the mind recall for the brand.

Professionals who incline towards exploring this profile need to consider the fact that this profile is not as easy and straight forward as it seems. Also, the responsibility stake is high. So you need to be confident and smart to survive and capitalize on your skills relevant to this profession to bring value to your own career as well as to your organization. Yes, it is a recognized profession today and being part of this exciting profession I strongly urge those who like to live a high momentum life to come be part of it.

AR is still a lonely profession and any addition of community members would do wonders to progress to a new level.