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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where Should IROs Come From?

Here's my response to an item in
Inside Investor Relations about a survey finding that "the majority of top IROs [investor relations officers] have a financial background," that "three quarters of leading IROs worked in finance, accountancy or as an analyst before taking up a role in IR" and that "just 10 percent arrived via a position in corporate communications."

The finding that IROs come from finance etc. is not surprising.  It's been the trend for decades, and it makes plenty of sense, given the technical nature of the position.  What CFO wants to have to train a new hire to read financials and to understand securities laws, markets, the structure of the investment community, and the fundamentals of securities analysis?  

In addition, if the IRO position includes establishing rapport with professional investors, a background in the securities industry can be helpful.  The situation is similar to what appears to be developing in social marketing in the high tech industry-techies are being hired instead of marketing or PR types.  The situation is also reminiscent of the problem faced by editors when hiring reporters-should they opt for the candidate with extensive credentials in the subject to be covered, or should they opt instead for the candidate who lacks some or all knowledge of the subject but is a highly experienced researcher and exquisite writer? 

In the case of the IRO position, it would be great, of course,  if the IRO candidate had experience not only in finance and the securities industry but also in marketing or communications.  There probably aren't, however, many of those individuals in the job market.  Also, companies should be on the look-out for IRO candidates who-while lacking formal financial credentials such as an MBA degree, Street experience, etc.-nevertheless have an extensive IR track record.  It is not impossible, after all, for a communicator, attorney or other smart, focused executive to have learned the technical skills needed for the IRO position.  And not every IRO position need be a stepping stone to the CFO  job.

You can find my response posted on the publication's web site:  Inside Investor Relations .

-- Jeff Bogart

11:42 pm edt          Comments

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Social Media Releases Continue a Long-time Trend

My previous posting noted that the term "news release" is not an apt synonym for "social media release.  Here's another insight about social media releases:  they are a continuation of a long-standing trend in corporate relations--communicating directly with the end audience instead of through a reporter and the reporter's newspaper, broadcast or cable outlet.  Exemplifying the trend is the distribution of financial news releases written for professional investors such as security analysts and fund managers and distributed directly to them rather relying on business journalists to report the news.  In other words, social media releases, although useable by journalists, continue the disintermediation of traditional mainstream media that began as early as the mid 1900s.


-- Jeff Bogart

3:09 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Social Media Releases Aren’t News Releases 

Recently, I’ve been spending time analyzing social media.  My interest is an outgrowth of interviews I conducted for a client with executives of advertising and public relations firms about the impact that digital has had on the marketing services industry. 
 One insight I’ve gained concerns the use of the phrase “social media release.”  At first I thought the phrase needed tweaking because it omitted the word “news.”  I thought it ought to be altered to become “social media news release.”  But then it dawned on me that “social media release” is a different concept.  It refers to communications directed to an audience much broader, qualitatively and quantitatively, than the news media, and it refers to content that is not just news.  I realized that the term “social media release” signifies content distributed or posted online for receipt directly by the end reader or for use by intermediaries in addition to or other than the traditional news media.  The content of the social release might not traditionally be considered “news.”   The difference between these terms--"social media release" and "news release" may be just a nuance . . . . or it may be a fundamental distinction on which to build.  We’ll see.  

-- Jeff Bogart

11:27 am edt          Comments


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