People often ask me what has changed the practice of investor relations most significantly during the nearly 25 years Sharon Merrill Associates (www.InvestorRelations.com) has been communicating the stories of our clients to Wall Street and to Main Street. Regulation Fair Disclosure? Sarbanes-Oxley? The rise of the mutual fund?
The answer is technology. It has changed everything.
The shift to Internet-driven communications created the opportunity for corporate news to be distributed throughout the world in a fraction of a second. This shift was accompanied by a revolution in trading technology. With the rise of electronic markets came spectacular growth in both transaction volume and the speed of the market’s reactions. Whether the reason is legitimate corporate news or unfounded rumor, the investment community today responds in the blink of an eye. This is a far cry from our early days in business prior to the Internet – and even the fax machine – when our associates would hand-deliver news releases by taxicab to the wire services and local daily news outlets.
And now Internet-driven communications includes the blogosphere and social media. Our new blog, “The Podium,” will focus on the dynamic worlds of investor relations and corporate communications. In the coming weeks, we will explore the latest communications trends and opine on best practices.
Advances in technology and communications promise to continue at a faster and more furious pace. If past is prologue, the new speeds at which we will be able to communicate will make our jobs both easier and more difficult at the same time. We look forward to using “The Podium” to discuss how we all can better our lives and our profession in this faster, increasingly connected world.
Chairman & CEO