Valmet, which serves pulp, paper, and energy companies, has revamped its investor relations communications. Among its investors are different target groups that should be reached simultaneously and in accordance with strictly regulated investor communication rules. In addition to traditional stock exchange releases, interim reports and financial statements, the company reaches investors where they spend their time – for example on Instagram.
"Approximately 80,000 private investors own about 15% of Valmet’s shares. 85% of the shares are therefore held by approximately 500 institutional investors, for example professional owners like Varma or Ilmarinen. This group includes very different people, and we need to communicate with them in an equal way," says Pekka Rouhiainen, Valmet's Vice President of Investor Relations.
In addition to stock exchange and press releases, Valmet's website features an actively updated blog and a quarterly newsletter summarising current topics. Information is also actively shared face-to-face, and different events and roadshows have been popular. Other investors, on the other hand, prefer webcasts, or want to follow investment-related information on social media.
"Our largest investors want to hear the latest news face-to-face but, alongside that, many private investors in particular expect information to be readily available through the channels where they spend their time. All our information is available to everyone at the same time through stock exchange releases, but today multichannel is actually already a competitive advantage," says Pekka.
Award-winning experiment brings surprising popularity – this is what investor relations looks like on Instagram
In 2020, the Valmet Sijoituskohteena, or ‘Valmet as a target of investment’, account was launched on Instagram. Pekka had already noticed that the users of the platform were interested in talking about money. Private investment especially began to be of interest.
"When it became possible to trade with an equity savings account in Finland, we noticed that the popularity of private investing took off. As a result of that, social media influencers started coming to Instagram talking actively about money. We then thought that the same people might also be interested in following us, so we started experimenting," says Pekka.
This successful strategy was also recognised by IR Magazine, an international publication for investor relations professionals, at its annual IR Awards. Valmet took the top spot in the European Best Retail IR Strategy category. The term ‘retail’ refers to private investors.
"We also have a comprehensive service for private investors, and our Instagram account, which is in Finnish, clearly distinguishes us from other players. Many companies have their corporate accounts just as we do, but we haven’t found actual investor relations accounts anywhere else on social media," says Pekka.
Pekka’s team produces content to suit the channel and its audience. This means, for example, that Instagram videos made based on financial releases are filmed manually on a phone camera, and are edited as little as possible. Jargon and complex, investment-related terms are also avoided as much as possible. Instead, the audience is given the latest news or get their questions answered in Q&A videos in a relaxed and knowledgeable manner.
"The results have been really good. Each of our videos gets several hundred views. For example, it would be much more challenging to reach as many pairs of eyes through an event for private investors. There is a place for them too and we do attend events in different cities, but the development of the Instagram account shows us that a multi-channel strategy that takes into account our target audiences is the lifeblood of today's world," says Pekka.
A strong position in traditional media – Cision helping Valmet to reach journalists
A traditional stock exchange release is still the best way to share information simultaneously with all target groups. Earned media and diligent communication play a big role as part of Valmet's investor relations strategy.
"We communicate a lot and are active in a great number of different channels, but we always ensure that not a single group of investors receives some piece of information before others. The distribution of releases is therefore very important to us. Cision helps us to reach our entire audience simultaneously," says Pekka.
Through Cision, stock exchange and press releases can also be automatically published on the website and other regulatory channels. Valmet has also found it meaningful to have a broad influence on the visual appearance of publications, which is especially important for interim reports. What is most important, however, is that the service works as promised.
"It’s critical for us to get releases out on time, so it's really important for Customer Service to be there to help when it's needed. We are fully confident that, with Cision, we can get our work done without any worries. Of course, our goal is also to get our messages across in the media that are relevant to us, and the distribution tool also plays a big role in this," concludes Pekka.
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