How to use the nine basic stances of analyst relations

There are nine basic stances of analyst relations programmes, reflecting how far companies make two choices: first, whether they drive analysts perceptions of their firms as innovators that transform their clients’ businesses; second, how far their analyst relations teams are proactive and reactive across the analyst industry.

Using the responses from 881 analysts to the Analyst Advocacy Study, researchers are the Analyst Observatory conducted a statistical analysis to better understand which factors were most strongly correlated with analyst advocacy of technology and telecoms solution providers. Statistical analysis was used to generate several key factors and, through looking for correlations, researchers at the University of Edinburgh Business School uncovered these two primary drivers. 

Using the metrics we identified three group of providers, with high, medium and low scores for leadership traits. Analysts rated the leaders on average twice as strongly as mid-scale firms. And laggards firms were scored around 40% as strongly as mid-scale firms. Gaps in AR quality were smaller but still significant, with AR leaders scoring 36% better than mid-scale AR firms, while laggards’ AR were on average rated 55% as strongly as the mid-scale firms. We used analysts’ average scores in the study to place 53 of the largest B2B tech firms into the resulting matrix. Using interview responses from the analysts, we then found commonalities which were specific to each of the nine groups.

Industry leaders (Innovative, transformative)Gorillas:  Powerful incumbents with unique assets and almost unassailable market positions.
5 firms.
Nerds: Technology leaders with little elan, few spokespeople, weak messaging.
3 firms.
Stars:  Product-oriented firms in contested, disrupted, breakneck markets. Highly commensurable. Highly confident.
9 firms.
Decelerators:  Former leaders with slowing momentum.
2 firms.
Plateaux:  Low innovation; low trust, low transformation.
10 firms.
Strivers:  Professional services firms, weakly commensurable, high intangibles, the most sensitive to analyst damage.
6 firms.
Industry laggards (Weakly innovative, transformative)Prey:  Vulnerable to acquisition. Former leaders struggling to find a way forward.
11 firms.
Cows:  Low-growth firm struggling to keep up with the pack.
3 firms.
Dogs:  Incumbents defended from acquisition by protectionism. 
4 firms.
Source: Analyst ObservatoryAR laggards (Weakly proactive, responsive)AR leaders (Proactive, responsive)
Data: Analyst Advocacy Study. n= 881 analysts’ rating of 53 leading B2B tech providers

The resulting grid poses a major opportunity for AR measurement within these groups. By placing each provider more confidently into a group of peers, and contrast it to the outcomes of the clusters above and to its right, it can outline to stakeholders the changes and benefits of closing the gap on the competition. It also highlights the dangers of being seen unfavourably. Looking back at data collected five years ago, for example, almost half of the ‘Prey’ firms have been involved unfavourable in M&A processes.

To find out more about this, come to my June webinar on analyst relations measurement.

Duncan Chapple

Duncan Chapple is the preeminent consultant on optimising international analyst relations and the value created by analyst firms. As the head of CCgroup's analyst relations team, Chapple directs programs that increase the value of relationships with industry analysts and sourcing advisors.