While IR and PR have similar goals and create similar content, they have major differences at the core of what they are focused on. IR looks at financial side of a business, aka the “business of the business.” They work with shareholders, people who own stock or might own stock in the future. PR looks at the brand, technology, product and the people at a company.
In an ideal world, investor relations and public relations work together for the benefit of the organization. It can be hard for IR and PR teams to collaborate because of how quickly things move in today’s rapidly shifting communications and finance worlds. However, if we can embrace some best practices, IR and PR teams can collaborate and leverage each other’s efforts for the benefit of the company.
On November 14, the PR Club welcomed Mary Conway and Beth Kurth from Conway Communications for a presentation examining what it takes for IR and PR professionals to successfully work together and create the ideal partnership. Here are three takeaways:
- PR is the people side of the business. IR is the business of the business. The major difference between PR and IR is all about the audience. PR is focused on the people side of the business. This means using the brand, technology, products, and services that a client provides to help elevate the business. In short, it’s about telling a story about how the company can or will impact people. IR is focused on the business side of the business. IR professionals focus on the financial model and the total addressable market (TAM), to find the most direct path to profitability (PTP). In short, IR tells a story about how the company will make money.
- Both teams are focused on visibility and credibility. The end goal is the same: bring visibility and credibility to the client. Both IR and PR start by setting goals and creating a plan that gets them to those goals. Because the approach for both teams is communicating information, there is a lot of overlap in scripted materials like messaging documents, speaking opportunities and press releases. In the end, the message must be simple. One example that really resonated was this: Write your communications as if your Aunt Betty were reading them. If she can’t understand it easily, it’s too complicated.
- There are similar tactics to reaching audiences. Although IR targets a different audience than PR, the methods for getting in front of that audience is similar. IR teams analyze the market to make smart decisions on how to reach the right investors, much like PR teams analyze the media landscape to know what is being discussed in the industry. Instead of trade shows, IR teams focus on KOL events. Like PR teams use the on-site event to connect their spokesperson with target media, IR teams get their spokespeople in front of key opinion leaders and investors. The purpose of these events can be to raise awareness and validity for the company’s products or services, or just to put the client in the mind of possible investors.
With many similarities in approach and a common goal, PR and IR teams have the potential to complement and support each other. Companies are best supported when PR and IR work together.
This blog post was written by Rachael Lewin from March Communications.