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Bringing Human-Centered Design to the Shareholder Experience
A guest post from Stakeholder Labs' Head of Design James Kennedy
Since joining Stakeholder Labs last summer, I’ve been diving into capital markets and learning that Investor Relations teams play a pivotal role in shaping a publicly traded company's overall brand image and establishing trust and transparency in the marketplace. As economic and market volatility continues to lead the news cycle, it’s more important than ever to deliver a seamless and engaging shareholder experience, not only for institutional investors, but also a company's retail shareholders who are often a company’s most loyal customers and advocates.
So let’s talk about how human-centered design can do just that. Prior to Stakeholder Labs, I was a Principal of Design at Concentrix, a global leader in digital customer experience that leverages human-centric design to solve challenges for some of the world's most consumer obsessed brands.
Human-centered design is a problem-solving technique that puts real people at the center of the development process, enabling you to create products and services that resonate and are tailored to your audience's needs. (HBS)
In the case of the Investor Relations industry, that means treating your retail shareholders as humans with unique expectations as opposed to a 'market' that responds to macro events. When we combine human-centered design principles with quantitative and qualitative insights from the IR industry, we discover three key themes Investment Relations Officers can rely on for more effective retail shareholder management and experience.
Empathy leads to better communication: The thought of investing can be scary for potential retail shareholders and an uncertain economic outlook can quickly cause current shareholders to move their money elsewhere. Understanding and empathizing with your retail shareholders is key to addressing their biggest concerns and pain points. What do they care most about? Why should they invest in your company or continue to hold your stock?
By creating a clear and consistent narrative for retail shareholders and making it easier for them to understand the company's vision, strategy, and financial performance, you can better ensure that you are in sync with an important constituency dedicated to long-term value.
Meet the shareholder in their world: By thinking deeply about the end-to-end shareholder experience, IR teams can create more interactive, impactful and engaging content, such as virtual events, Twitter Spaces, and interactive digital reports that keep shareholders interested, informed and invested.
When Public.com asked what impacts their investment decisions, retail shareholders indicated that they wanted more content that is tailored to them, specifically better context, different formats, and short-form content. Iterating on tactics and getting direct feedback from retail shareholders is also important to see what touch points resonate most with them.
Transparency fosters trusted feedback loops: Building trust with retail shareholders happens when companies take action on the issues they care most about and demonstrate their commitments to transparency, accountability, and ethical business practices.
A recent study from the FINRA Foundation showed that more than half (57%) of respondents strongly or somewhat agree that investing can be a way to make positive changes in the world. It’s important for IR teams to recognize the emotional investment that many retail shareholders are also making in addition to their stock purchase.
At Stakeholder Labs, we’re building software so Investor Relations teams can more easily apply human-centered design to their day to day jobs. By giving companies the ability to verify, measure and reward their retail investors, we aim to provide an important foundation for IR professionals to personalize their retail shareholder outreach and ultimately foster a cohort of their most dedicated stakeholders.