Today, Dell launched Dell Shares, its new blog designed to do for its investor relations development what Direct2Dell has done for its customer relations – enable the people in Dell to directly and credibly engage with other people online.
In an exclusive FIR Interview podcast, Shel Holtz and I interviewed Lynn Tyson, Dell’s VP of investor relations, last night about the new blog and Lynn’s vision for the key role this blog will play as part of Dell’s strategic approach in how it wants to develop and evolve its investor relations practice.
What can the financial community (and anyone else with an interest in Dell) expect from Dell Shares?
From Lynn’s inaugural post:
[…] Dell Shares keeps us moving forward. We expect to not just push out information, but to share perspective and understandings. We hope that means that the information will be given context and meaning, that it becomes more digestible and accessible, that you can share the information, perhaps we could say we want to democratize financial information beyond just filing public data. While we urge you to review the Dell Shares and Dell Online policy statements, you can expect timely posts from the IR team (and sometimes company executives) on business performance and strategy.
We’ll also post your comments and questions, which we’ll respond to – where appropriate – in a timely manner. Dell Shares is a new effort, maybe among the first in the industry, to establish an Investor Relations blog that not only increases the flow of information, but also opens up a dialogue. As Michael Dell recently noted there are conversations going on about us all the time and we want to be part of those conversations -to listen, to learn and to contribute. We hope Dell Shares will be among your choices of places to come for perspective and commentary on Dell.
[…] we do want you to seize this opportunity and take on the responsibility to educate yourself and become an informed and knowledgeable Dell investor. Ideally, this blog will serve as an additional source of information to your own informed and sound financial decisions.
It’s pretty clear that Dell intends to firmly embrace elements of social media as part of their traditional communication and engagement activities.
As Lynn also says in her post:
[…] There is no reason we shouldn’t take advantage of these trends and reach beyond the traditional media and analysts to connect directly with investors or others interested in our company.
I mentioned earlier that you’ll first hear about Dell’s new blog in the blogosphere.
No press releases, no media briefings, just quietly get the blog up. What we might, in traditional-speak, call a ‘soft launch.’
It’s thanks to Richard Binhammer in Dell’s corporate communications that Shel and I had the opportunity for an exclusive interview the day before the new blog launches.
And incidentally, we agreed to respect an embargo on publication, the reason why Dell Shares is conspicuously absent of any mention in today’s ‘Hobson and Holtz Report’ podcast which we finished recording a short while ago.
I’m pretty certain that discovery and awareness of Dell Shares will be quick and we’ll soon see how broad and deep opinion is, not only in the blogosphere and media (mainstream and niche) but also among Dell’s investor community. That’s probably the acid test.
It’s not the end of traditional announcing by any means. But it’s certainly illustrative of Dell’s credible approach to how they want and intend to engage with people online.