Last week I had lunch with an AR manager at a software company where we had an interesting chat about “corporate” AR. She had always been focused on product-centric outreach and wanted to know what constitutes good corporate AR. That is a great question because most AR teams are focused on products for a good reason, but that means that corporate issues frequently do not get the attention they deserve. This is especially true for larger companies with a diverse portfolio of products and services since the analysts will often not see the forest for the trees.
Because a discussion of corporate AR will require quite a bit of space, I will split it into a variety of articles over the next month or two. The series will include entries on spokespeople, topics, measurement, content, events, campaigns and business value. In this entry I’ll focus on the objectives of corporate AR.
The primary objective for corporate AR is to ensure that the analysts understand the big picture about the company. This includes corporate strategy, R&D, M&A, partnerships, brand marketing, and so forth. In essence you are trying to establish why a customer should develop a strategic relationship with your company as opposed to just purchasing selected products. In theory the big picture will show how the corporate strategy and capabilities enhance the business units’ ability to execute. The big picture should also demonstrate the synergy points between business units. Finally, by giving the analysts a foundation about the big picture, it can give credence to the premise that a bump in the road for one business unit does not constitute a crisis because that business unit can lean on corporate and other business units to get past the bump.
I will warn you that most analysts are not interested in the big picture, because they are so focused on the product/service markets they cover. As a consequence, you will have to very persuasive as to why the analyst needs to devote some bandwidth to learning about the corporate story and how it help will them in their primary research coverage.
Bottom Line: Providing the analysts with a solid understanding of the corporate story will give them a better foundation for their work on individual business units or products/services.
Question: For AR managers – does your team provide the analysts with a consistent flow of information about corporate issues? For IT buyers – is it important for your analysts to understand how the various parts of your strategic vendors work together? For analysts – do you want corporate story background or does that not interest you? Why?