Thank You, Analyst Relations

I’ve had the honor to participate in three very different events in the last three weeks. Each gave me the opportunity to serve, share ideas, and hopefully contribute value to the attendees. If you’d like to read more about the events, check out these blog posts:

And while they were very different from one another in scale and purpose, there was one unseen common factor—great analyst relations (AR). AR is often an underappreciated or misunderstood function in companies of all sizes, with a wide variety of personalities and official roles that fill that need within orgs.

Imagine a scale of two extreme CCs:

Command and Control – which [read with sarcasm] essentially implies, “My company is unsure of what our executives might say to you analysts or vice versa, so it’s important that only limited idea sharing or feedback be offered.  These infrequent interactions will be tightly monitored for information-only transference. The information will also only be offered the day before public release to ensure that you cannot offer suggestions or other assistance.”

[Yes, there is a little exaggeration in that; but not as much as you might hope.]

Cordial Concierge – which manifests in “I am here to help my company get value out of your services. After I understand you and your offerings, I will seek out opportunities with executives, marketers, and product management for them to influence you and for you to share outside ideas that we cannot get looking inward. The one rule is that you always copy me on correspondence, so that I can help you, while you help them, with no surprises for anyone.

[A very reasonable ask that comes with an expectation of trust and respect.]

To be clear, those are two extremes, with very few organizations or individuals on either edge, some of whom are limited by their organizational culture. And across that scale are many, many delightful, thorough, hard-working, and underappreciated AR professionals who tirelessly serve their companies—all of whom, I am grateful to know and serve through.

Perhaps not every analyst firm works like ESG, but my colleagues and I do genuinely just want to help—and to be an effective helper requires access and transparency. As one example:

  • If you tell me the news the night before, I will be educated and not surprised, but cannot help you—and maybe that is okay.
  • If you tell me the news 1-2 weeks before, I will offer suggestions on phrasing and will be prepared to support you with press and with partners who are excited to potentially work with you—and to rebut FUD that your competitors might offer.
  • If you invite me even earlier into your process, I can be your partner in developing the narrative, not just refining or echoing the bullets of the news.

As another example, the reason that the high-end of my scale is termed “concierge” is that I believe the AR professionals are thoughtful ambassadors who know more about their orgs than I do:

  • You introduce me to people that I don’t know but you believe I should meet because you see the potential for new insights on both sides that no one else can.
  • Your bridge-building for an ad-hoc 1:1 … slipping me in between meetings for a handshake … adding a shared meal or drink to my daily schedule … filling my days with meaningful meetings (instead of just large-room sessions) … assigning my seat at the group dinner next to someone specific … recommending me for breakouts or other value-add activities, etc.
  • All of your intentionality enables me to find new people and teams to serve within your orgs—and I hope that your efforts were rewarded with delighted execs from our interactions, and your execs’ knowledge that you were responsible for making it happen.

To the many, many wonderful AR professionals whom I have had the honor to work with and through, THANK YOU—for your enablement of me to serve your teams … for your hospitality at more events than I can count … and for the trust that you’ve placed in me as a partner to you and yours. I do not take it lightly. Thank you also for those gentle nudges on calls or in person, as I’m not so sure that you aren’t my handler, as much or more than you are the handler for your execs, in a way that ensures everyone’s success.

P.S. I can’t lift up this topic without a special nod to a few truly special AR professionals whom I have profound gratitude for—DF, KM, and RN.

[originally posted on ESG blog]

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