CAMPAIGNS: Financial PR - BAA's web cast gets the right results

Client: BAA

Client: BAA

PR Team: In-house

Campaign: Release of interim report

Timescale: October

Budget: Undisclosed



Companies have been criticised for selectively briefing professional investors at the expense of the wider investment community. For the launch of its interim report, BAA wanted to reach as broad an audience as possible.

The company has been making increasing use of the internet to communicate with corporate audiences, and wanted to use the web to help overcome the logistical problem of communicating at the same time and in the same way with its 427,000 investors and other interested parties.

The end of duty free on 1 July 1999 had a greater than expected effect on BAA and it was crucial to get the message across that the company had recovered and was back on track.



Objectives

To put all stakeholders on the same footing in announcing the interim results, and to get the message out to as many people as possible that the company had recovered from the impact of the abolition of duty free.



Strategy and Plan

As soon as the figures were available for the half year ending 30 September, BAA's interactive communications team worked to create an online version of the interim report in PDF and HTML formats that could be downloaded from the internet.

Preparations were made for a live web cast of the results announcement on 30 October. A television crew was booked to shoot the web cast, and BAA's interactive communications team made plans to host it.

Powerpoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets were also downloaded to the web site so these could be viewed live during the web cast.

On the Sunday before the results announcement on Monday, the video crew being used for the web cast shot an interview with BAA chief executive Mike Hodgkinson. This would be available to view immediately after the live web cast and would give the audience an illusion of interactivity.

News of the results was released to the Stock Exchange news service at 7am on results day, and a series of interviews was arranged with journalists. Lunch was provided for journalists.



Measurement and Evaluation

Media coverage was consistently good. All the nationals covered the story favourably, and there was also coverage on the main wire services.

The key message that BAA was back on track was widely reported.

City reaction was also good, with positive feedback from analysts. And the all-important share price rose on the day, by an impressive 19p to 583p.

Another important audience was BAA senior managers, and results show that 40 per cent of the top 100 managers watched the web cast. This is regarded as a high response rate compared to previous internal on-line communication.

Similarly, feedback from those who visited the web site has been consistently good.



Results

Traffic to the BAA web site increased by 40 per cent on results day, and much of this increase is attributed to the depth and range of instantaneous information made available.

The results reached a much wider audience than before, with people logging on from the US, Brazil, South Africa, France and Italy to view the web cast.

Massive problems with transport caused by the severe flooding across many parts of Britain (particularly the difficulties of commuting into London) on and around results day made it partic-ularly appropriate that BAA had decided to use the web to help communicate its results.



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