Christian Hampel, a researcher from the Psychologische Institut Mainz, and I have a totally new analyst relations strategy. Since February, we have been developing and testing some ideas from social psychology in conversations with industry analysts, AR people and a range of academic researchers.
Each of our four strategies is designed for companies in different stages of growth and market orientation. There is a strong parallel between these four stages and the four quadrants of the Influence Quadrant, which we first published in 2012.
- Spring. When firms first meet the analysts, they are rising fast but from a low base. By virtue of their growing market presence not only is their share of voice growing, but also the firm’s AR managers and spokespeople carry with them an assertive quality. They might be offering some new solutions, and often quite different expertise, but their clumsy and inconsistent tactics make them hard to trust.
- Summer. As growing firms approach their peak, they remain assertive but switch their approach. Earlier firms can take a mercenary approach, hoping to get insight and leads from analysts with little in exchange. In their peak, they develop more of a partnership approach towards industry analysts. They remain assertive but start to work in a win-win way.
- Autumn. This is where strategy makes the biggest difference, and it’s generally where the best analyst relations teams develop. These are organisations that are at their peak, or are growing mainly through M&A. Their dynamic is shifting between market growth and market defence. As a result, they need to be building very strong relationships with analysts and emphasising clients’ switching costs.
- Winter. This is the crucial end-game for firms, when they come into high-stakes M&A as a way of life. In this period, firms are strongly on the defensive, but the passage into winter is often signaled by the move from a win-win approach to AR into much more confrontation, hard-ball transactional approaches. Often this is when the firm moves from one set of key analysts to another.
Our research has identified four different strategies which firms should use in each of these four life stages. To better understand where your firm is moving, and how your tactics need to change, contact us today.