Best investor relations: Pushpay’s IR team creates award-winning annual report

by | Sep 4, 2018 | Public Relations

Mobile payments app developer Pushpay sought to convey its story and achievements in a way that shareholders and the investment community would understand in its 2017 Annual Report. The company’s investor relations team designed the Report, along with the campaign communications around it, to not only present the company milestones from the previous year but to also highlight their unique company culture in an engaging, easy to read format.

Pushpay logoThe company wanted to communicate its IR activity with all its stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, institutions, analysts, brokers, journalists and the public. In the Report, the IR team placed an emphasis on highlighting the high-growth nature of the business, key metrics, targets and future prospects, and their focus on product and business innovation. The team produced the Report in-house, including all design elements, within the IR budget.

Read on to see how Pushpay’s IR Report effectively conveyed the information in an easily digestible format and captured the full scope of the year’s activity—earning a Gold Award in the “Best Investor Relations” category in Bulldog Reporter’s 2018 PR Awards.

The Strategy

To deliver the results in the Annual Report, the corresponding Chairman and Chief Executive Report is a great opportunity for the team to reach stakeholders with key messaging and highlight business achievements. At the official market release time (to the NZX and ASX), the team commonly emails the Report and results announcement to its Investor News email list, consisting of over 3,500 subscribers.

Head of Investor Relations Sarah Elder.

Head of Investor Relations Sarah Elder.

They also complemented the Report with multimedia components. “We released a short video update of our CEO presenting the highlights of our results and where the business is headed. The video was uploaded to our Investor Centre website and we emailed the video link to our Investor News email list,” says Pushpay’s Head of Investor Relations Sarah Elder. “The beauty of the video is that all shareholders and interested parties had the opportunity to have our results presented to them by the CEO in a short video with graphics. For some people, reading an Annual Report seems daunting, so having the CEO of the company tell you the highlights on video in under 10 minutes makes the results more accessible.”

The results are released by email to the company’s business media portal, which distributes the Report to a network of media sources. Ahead of the results, the IR team schedules media interviews for print and radio with journalists and radio hosts that frequently cover Pushpay.

The team conducts an investor briefing following the release by conference call, where the CEO and senior managers give a presentation highlighting key findings from the results. The team then provides a presentation for the financial results to the market beforehand. Following the investor briefing, they hold private analyst and private investor briefings to provide the largest shareholders and key contacts one-on-one time with the CEO and senior management.

These tactics are based on Investor Relations best practices and strategies they believe are the most effective way to deliver this message and reach stakeholders.

The Execution

The most challenging part of crafting the Report is the number of parties that are involved in the work before it is released. Due to the sensitive material and financial nature, the entire company senior management team, finance team, auditors, external lawyers, and the full Board of Directors are involved to review the document prior to it being released.

Investor Relations Coordinator Gabrielle Wilson

Investor Relations Coordinator Gabrielle Wilson

As there are multiple teams involved, IR’s challenge is to manage the stream of work and combine all the feedback into one document that clearly and effectively reflects the company’s results and story. To overcome this challenge, they implement internal work processes and timelines in order to deliver it within the time committed to the market.

With such a big story to tell, the IR team found a way to highlight the work of a variety of individual accomplishments. “We introduced ‘staff profiles’ to provide a deeper look at the team driving Pushpay and our company culture. This was very beneficial from a staff morale perspective and from an investors perspective as it gave them an insight into the team ‘behind the curtain,’” Elder offers. “The difficulty was that most of our staff are based in our Redmond, WA, USA office, whereas our Investor Relations team is based in Auckland, New Zealand. Coordinating photoshoots, interviews and schedules across a 19-hour time zone difference and two hemispheres can be challenging. We overcame this by being extremely detailed and explicit in our instructions, documenting instructions on email, then following up with a video conference to those we were relying on in the US to oversee the photoshoot. We also set reminders to follow up with the US parties to ensure everyone was on track and on the same page.”

The Results

The IR team believes the Report, coupled with consistent and timely communication, helped them to reach their Investor Relations objective. From start to finish, they set out to create and deliver a clear story and consistent message. Their PR efforts and tactics increase communications with shareholders and have been well received throughout the year. The Report has direct contributions to the underlying objectives of the organization through creating increased stakeholder engagement and brand reinforcement in the market.

The Report helps shareholders to assess the risk and return of their investment in the company and make investment decisions based on their analysis. As the team seeks to reduce the cost of capital and facilitate a fair valuation of the company, their well-presented Report is a strong reflection on the organization’s objectives and future growth opportunities. Having a polished Annual Report creates opportunities for our organization that follow beyond the impression that it leaves. The Reports is used in many scenarios, including recruitment and orientation of new staff, information for prospective investors, and any other cases where it’s necessary to give a detailed explanation of what the organization represents.

In terms of evaluation and metrics, Pushpay has seen a substantial increase in its shareholder base since having listed in August 2014 on the NZAX with 98 shareholders. As at January 2018, Pushpay had over 5,000 shareholders, reflecting a significant increase in interest and confidence in Pushpay’s story. A combination of tools, including the Annual Report, drives the company’s objectives, but clear communications above all else are key for delivering the message to stakeholders.

Creativity & Innovation

While an Annual Report traditionally can be an information-heavy piece of reading material, the team strives to create content that is engaging and tells the story of the organization in terms of where it came from, where it’s going and how they plan to get there. Through carefully crafting the design to present the Report, the IR team have made key information accessible to its audiences.

The Report is unique and interesting to read as the team has incorporated real stories and imagery of the staff, while also emphasizing milestones and achievements. The IR team set out to provide a Report that differentiates them from other players in the market and to connect stakeholders to the company’s story. Pushpay is a fast-growing company that has achieved many milestones in a short period of time, and the IR team proudly supports the story through the Annual Report.

Pushpay’s Investor Relations has invested in a clear and consistent communications plan with stakeholders. The IR team believes that to effectively deliver and communicate the company’s results, it is essential that they reach stakeholders in a timely manner, and through a combination of tactics that clearly represent their messaging.

Through a differentiated approach to communications and reporting, the team was able to reinforce the company’s brand positioning, as well as increase shareholders’ perception of the company. With an overarching objective of conveying the Investor Relations story in a way that shareholders and the investment community will understand, their tactics with the 2017 Annual Report effectively accomplished that goal.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter