Consumer Generated Content

I guess it’s because I came to investor relations from the sell side of the market – I have always felt the need to make sure that the “little guy” had the same level of access to corporate news as the big players did and I tried to incorporate their concerns and questions into our financial presentations.  But not every individual investor contacts the official investor relations spokesperson for information on a company.  Some plumb the depths of the internet to have their questions answered and many pick up stock trading and investing tips from sites that specialize in rumor and innuendo.  

That’s why today’s news from  IR Web Report by Dominic Jones was so compelling.  Just as I had started my search for investor relations applications for new media, Jones reported that one company, Microvision (NASDAQ: MVIS), had already hit one out of the ballpark.  The Investor Relations specialist, Tiffany Bradford, asked investors to comment on the company’s IR blog with questions for management prior to the scheduled earnings conference call.  Bradford then used the questions to help frame the remarks.  See the whole story here: http://ff.im/-1mytq

Why is this important to corporate communications?  For quite some time we have been hit over the head with worry over the demise of original content creation on Web 2.0 – fears of a vast echo chamber where everything is repeated ad infinitum and nothing new or noteworthy is generated.  Consumer generated content?  What could consumers really contribute beyond the drivel found on message boards?  The answer, as provided in part by Microvision today, is a lot.  When the financial conversation is suspect – or controlled by large interests who probably already know the answers to many of the questions – corporate legitimacy is eroded.  When you add the voice of the individual back into the mix it can provide greater transparency and trust. 

For a company seeking to improve its customer loyalty what better way then to engage them in the conversation?  And I do not mean to limit this to investor relations – I think all forms of corporate communications can benefit. 

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