It is fair for any executive to believe that his or her business’s strategy and ability to execute are what will ultimately dictate its fate with investors, not how those strategies and results are communicated. In principle, that may be true, and we can probably all pick out a few cases to prove that point. However, in practice, we believe it cannot be overstated how much a company or management’s credibility can be at stake based on the approach taken with investor relations and communications – especially the investor presentation.
In my last post, I discussed some of the easiest ways to establish a powerful IR foundation by fine-tuning core elements of your deck such as your investment highlights and key data. In this post, we will take a closer look at how to approach the visual and graphic choices you make while preparing your presentation slides.
The strongest investor presentations maintain a consistent, value-driver focused message, while avoiding common pitfalls such as becoming over-branded or over-promotional. Below are some simple tips that can help ensure your presentation does not become a distraction, but instead a tool that enhances the research experience for your analysts and investors.
Limit the graphics – Your target audience is investors, not consumers. Having excessive consumer branding and visual posturing bleed into your corporate presentation will turn investors away more often than pull them in. Try to keep your slide boundaries and background areas clean or empty. Avoid using images that look like they belong on (or actually come from) a pharmaceutical ad. Analysts don’t need your logo and advertising assets on every page of their reports to recommend your stock to investors — and you don’t either.
Tone down or eliminate effects – The use of graphic touches such as shadows, bevels, soft edges, and slide transitions has been popular ever since Microsoft included those features in their PowerPoint suite. And in our opinion, the spread of that trend to investor presentations is unfortunate. Your investor slides are more often than not shown printed on paper while sitting at a table. Many of these effects simply won’t show up or work on a static page. Even if they do, they tend to draw attention away from what is most important. In many cases, even when the graphic effects were not immediately a distraction, they are applied inconsistently with other elements within the slides, adding undesirable incoherence to your narrative. Nine times out of ten (if not more), it’s best to leave them off altogether.
Consistent and restrained color palette – It may seem boring, but many of the most effective investor presentations we have come across in healthcare utilize no more than three or four colors throughout the entire document. And their use is consistent every time. When the use of colors is consistent and intentional, the presentation exudes a sense of focus and integrity. Identify a core color or two and then identify alternative colors from them. Be sure every element on every page – including text, bullets, charts and headers/banners – is using one of these colors and you will find your entire presentation take on a cohesive and focused look that your investors and analysts will likely appreciate. Regular use of your presentation software’s manual/RGB color selection tool can do wonders on this front (especially if you utilize master slides appropriately).
You don’t want your visuals to get in the way of the story, especially at the cost of your reputation and credibility. Avoid turning your slides into ads. Keep the style clean and consistent, with minimal graphic effects. Use a modest and focused color palette. Consider how your slides will look both on screen and on paper. These simple tweaks can help transform a distracting deck into the IR springboard an investor presentation should be.
Could your presentation be the barrier between you and greater investor trust, diligence, and engagement? Westwicke can help. Contact us to learn how.