INVESTING is increasingly a global activity and the average large-cap company today probably has investors spread all over the world.Obviously, the Web makes it easier for shareholders in far-flung places to keep tabs on what is happening at companies whose shares they own, which is one more reason it’s important for companies to have a well-managed investor relations website.
One simple and subtle way to acknowledge your global base of interested investors and analysts is to show start times for your upcoming events in a variety of time zones. This is one of the internationalization recommendations in our IR Website Usability Reviews.
If your company is located in Finland, for example, don’t assume that investors in San Francisco know what 9:00 am Finnish time is in their local time zone. Some Finnish companies, such as Fortum (HEL:FUM1V) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK), do try to accommodate their international investors by explaining their local time in relation to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or CET (Central European Time).
However, this is not the best way to provide start times for multiple time zones because it forces people to do some fairly complex calculations in their heads or use a tool like the Time Zone Converter. It has recently become even more complex with daylight savings time now occurring on different dates in North America and Europe.
And it assumes that people know what the time difference is between where they are and GMT or CET. While many do, it’s much easier for them if you can provide times in relation to something more familiar to them.
|While GMT times are helpful, they require people to know what GMT is and how their local time relates to it.|
|This is a less useful way to show start times because CET is not as well known as GMT.|
Sony Corp’s (NYSE: SNE) approach to providing internationalized start times is good. The company provides times for its events in the local times of specific cities, including Tokyo, London and New York.
Someone in San Francisco will easily be able to figure out even without really thinking that 9:30 am in New York is 6:30 am in their time zone, while someone in Paris will know instinctively that 2:30 pm in London is 3:30 pm where they are.
|Sony’s approach is good. The fact that management is in the office at 10:30 pm in Tokyo also makes a subtle point about its commitment to investor relations.|
Sony’s approach can be tailored to your company’s specific circumstances. If your company is based in London but you have a lot of investors in Singapore or Sydney, then you should include start times for those cities as well.
Good IR website practices are simply about knowing your audience and thinking like them. Providing start times for multiple time zones is a small thing, but it does reinforce that your company is cognizant that the world is bigger than its home market.
And, of course, remembering your investors in far-flung places is always a nice touch.
What is your experience with start times? Do you use specific times to accommodate your shareholders abroad? Please use the comment form below if you have any tips to share with other readers.