Exploring the potential of IR 2.0

A recent study reveals that online investor relations has room for development

Financial markets are experiencing turbulent times. With the prevailing Euro crisis and upcoming signs of a new economic downturn, investors, analysts, business media and other stakeholder within the financial community operate within an atmosphere of high uncertainty. Information and rumours are triggered by myriad discussions on the internet and social web. Listed companies cannot ignore this highly volatile situation. Leaders in corporate communications and investor relations face the challenge of engaging in a digital dialogue to (re-)build reputation and gain trust on the virtual battlefields of opinion. In this context, social media platforms gain in importance, especially for those who have to deal with large numbers of retail shareholders. Until now little has been known about the actual use of social media for investor relations. An empirical study conducted by the University of Leipzig closes this gap. The research shows how companies in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan master financial communications on the Web 2.0. International differences in usage patterns reveal culture-specific relationships with shareholders and other financial market’s participants.

Kristin Koehler

Kristin Koehler works as a project manager for the Academic Society for Corporate Management & Communication, a non-profit initiative by blue-chip companies and several universities in Germany, and as research assistant at the University of Leipzig, Germany. Her research covers investor relations, social media and online PR, as well as communication management.

Ansgar Zerfass

Dr. Ansgar Zerfass is professor and chair in strategic communication at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He is also professor in communication and leadership at BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, as well as editor of the International Journal of Strategic Communication, USA, and, inter alia, Plank Scholar at The Plank Center for Leadership and Communication at the University of Alabama, USA. Current projects include, amongst others, the European Communication Monitor and Asia-Pacific Communication Monitor and Value Creating Communication, the world's most extensive research program on corporate communications conducted by with several universities and global companies.