Adding Value through IR Competitive Intelligence

Providing competitive intelligence from an IR perspective can add real value to your company according to a panel conducted at the NIRI Annual Conference. Frank Molina, Director of Investor Relations at Dell said the key is to prioritize the information you gather on both your company and peers so that you are providing management with timely, strategic insights that are impactful to the organization.

Molina had three takeaways from his experience at Dell:

  1. It’s all about the quality and relevance of the information.
  2. Look for opportunities to give unique insights that can impact strategy; providing news or data is not enough.
  3. You earn credibility and influence one interaction at a time. Done properly, this helps IR earn a “seat at the table.”

Tony Laday, VP Investor Relations, Treasury and Global Finance at Brinker International, said his goal for IR competitive intelligence is to provide insight that helps Brinker tell their story in a unique, differentiated way. To do this, it is critical to have a clear objective for the type of data you are providing, be consistent in the timing and timeliness of distribution and make sure you are providing the information to the right people.

Mike Conway, Director Investor Relations & Corporate Communications at The Sherwin-Williams Company, uses a Clip Report as the tool to provide competitive information. It is a three tier approach that has headlines for a quick snap-shot, key chunks of text and charts/graphs for more substance, and full reports. He said employees at SW are all encouraged to be engaged with information gathering and he often gets useful information sent to him from the field.

All three IROs stressed that competitive intelligence is a collaborative effort and they work with other groups in their companies such as accounting or strategic planning so that the most complete picture is provided to management.