Remote reporting season
Five takeaways from Hong Kong to ensure essential business continues to run smoothly
With global travel grounded during Hong Kong’s results reporting season, Hill+Knowlton Strategies has been helping some of the region’s leading companies ensure that it remains business as usual by facilitating virtual meetings with shareholders and stakeholders. This local experience has yielded useful lessons and has led to a new service, designed to help clients all over the world navigate our current period of uncertainty.
Every company has its own voice and its own rationale for making difficult decisions, which is why H+K developed bespoke contingency plans and action plans for each of its clients’ virtual events. And though every plan was tailored with the specific needs of the client in mind, all were built upon the same framework, which included the following top-level elements.
From Chinese New Year in January to the end of reporting season in April, H+K gave prominent clients such as Ping An, PICC and CNOOC daily updates on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong. This way, clients in mainland China remained informed of the Hong Kong government’s response to the virus. Updates included information on travel restrictions, border closures, quarantine rules and limits on group gatherings.
Adapt and inform
Results reporting is not only about announcing how you did and answering questions, it’s also about building relationships, establishing trust and demonstrating transparency through face-to-face meetings and events with investors and journalists. When it became impossible to meet in person, H+K considered how to reach the greatest number of investors and stakeholders, advising clients on the pros and cons of different types of virtual events: voice call; live webcast; voice call and live webcast; or voice call and live video webcast. Due diligence and competitor analysis allowed clients to be kept informed about their peers’ actions, too.
Highlight your leaders
One of H+K’s key recommendations was to make sure senior management were highly visible at virtual events to help ease investors’ concerns.
Test in advance
Restricted movement across mainland China and Hong Kong meant that senior executives had to join virtual events from different locations, making it harder to communicate with each other and answer questions from analysts. To ensure that events ran smoothly, different local, regional and global teams were asked to stress-test the equipment in advance and H+K team members were on hand to coordinate with clients during the calls.
Embrace local expertise and global insights
Building on insights, H+K developed a full service for clients. Known as the COVID-19 Intelligence and Advisory Communications Team (I-ACT), it is designed to mitigate risk, build reputation and accelerate growth, providing clients with the intelligence and integrated communication services necessary to navigate this new way of doing business.
To adapt in this new landscape, it is crucial that businesses understand and respond to challenges in different ways, using communications as a tool to help them. With H+K’s support, Hong Kong-listed companies avoided any reputational damage and showed that they can adapt and respond to adverse change. Learnings from Hong Kong has not only helped clients in the region, but has put H+K in a stronger position to help clients wherever they are in the world.
05 June 2020
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