The Intersection of IR and PR

October 2, 2012

By: Kathryn
Many people might think investor relations (IR) and public relations (PR) are two separate marketing functions. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, these two areas within a public company's marketing department must work together to build relationships with external constituents. PR might focus more on business, trade and mainstream media, while IR is more concerned with financial analysts and investors, but the underlining messages remain the same.
Image source: Harley House
IR and PR need to collaborate on communication policies and content, and then determine how this information will be disclosed to various audiences. IR might draw upon the PR team's stronger writing skills and media relations in the creation of the content, while IR's background in finance, accounting and legal will temper's PR suggestions on how the information is shared to conform with SEC regulations.
A case in point is the company website. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that public companies have IR sections of their websites to share key information with investors. This is the first place that many potential investors will look for information on the company. The site should contain a company description, management bios, a list of frequently asked questions and recent news. PR can assist in the creation of this content, but rather than just posting the SEC filings and this minimal information, IR and PR can add content to enhance the site, such as downloadable investor packages or investor PowerPoint presentations.
In combining the skills of these two groups within marketing, a company can disseminate a single message to the market that builds confidence in the company's future. Additionally, if a crisis were to occur, a close-knit IR and PR team can quickly respond and provide management with the ability to put negative news into context and alleviate concerns.
How are PR and IR functions handled at your company? Are these two separate groups or a synchronized group for sharing the company's core messages?

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