Topic Leader Financial Services/Blockchain Farner Consulting AG
Interviews and other public statements issued by the management of a company can have a significant impact on the share price. That is why there is a comprehensive set of rules in place as to how companies must correctly communicate key information. In Switzerland, these are contained in the ‘Directive on Ad hoc Publicity’. These guidelines apply to all types of potentially price-relevant information. They ensure that events that may significantly impact a company’s share price are communicated in the same fair and transparent way to all interested stakeholders. And obviously, certain statements made by management can also be directly relevant to the share price.
But this specific instance of management communication, with its well-regulated guidelines, is just one side of the coin. The other relates to the question of what long-term impact public statements – that is to say, those that are not containing immediate price sensitive information – can have on the company’s share price. From our perspective, management statements should help achieve a company’s strategic objectives in exactly the way as all other communication measures. This means that management communication helps create and maintain a positive (and in an ideal case, mutually inspiring) relationship with various stakeholders, as well as boosting a company’s reputation over the long term.
In this respect, management statements should be considered as a strategic tool, which should be used both internally and externally. We fully understand why companies are tempted to focus their resources on purely tactical communication measures at times. But communication departments and management must always bear in mind that the different messages sent by the various corporate representatives should do more than just coexist nicely. In this regard, obtaining an external expert perspective can often prove critical to success as external consultants with a broad and international experience help avoid the ‘tunnel vision’ that is so easy to develop when one is deeply embedded in a corporate environment.
Of course, it is possible to send board members to speak in front of stakeholder groups without providing them with a deeper understanding of their role in their corporate communications framework and a set of strategic key messages, trusting them to ‘say the right thing’. But given the significant impact that management statements can have on how companies are perceived by the general public and their investor community, we always recommend combining this healthy trust in board members’ abilities with a pragmatic communication strategy, customized to the needs of each individual member of management.
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