I’ve just put down a fascinating article in an old issue of IR Magazine, about the differences in IR language between the US and UK. The premise is that while language and verbage are 99% the same, meaning and emphasis is totally different. For example, “challenging” in plc terms may mean ‘dire’, or ‘SELL'; in the US that could translate to ‘we’re keen on going down this track’.
Simple analysis, but it twangs a chord. National characteristics aside, there are big differences in meaning, and when applied to considerable investments (another disputed term: define considerable) it forces the analyst to look for non-rational, body-language cues. I don’t think anyone wants analysis based on that.
What is the solution? Well, websites are mostly packed with annual report, filing and PR speak. Meaning that the company would rather you tire on the drudge stuff and give up and phone the IR people or arrange a meeting. Where, in front of them, you can perspire and look shifty when you’re actually looking to see if the air-conditioner is on.
This is the real reason why IR websites need to be more interactive.
If people find defensive stuff on your IR web pages, they’ll go to a 3rd party where you lose control of the message the instant they leave your site. Other sites have other agendas, other contexts, other ways of categorising your information.
So keep them on your site. But give them blogs and give them video. Now they can gauge the efficacy of your written word, and through video they can see that, indeed, you exist and resemble a dna-carrying member of homo sapiens sapiens.
Turn Social Media into a tool for you.
Web 2.0 is two-way. If your company info is on a video or photo sharing site, or some guy with a grudge and a blog is ranting about you, you can use new tools to find and monitor these conversations.
It follows that you should use video and blogs to make your message real. If funky brands like Apple and Coca-Cola can have legions of suits in the background and still be seen as legit, your corporate site can have hipsters and baseball-caps front and centre.