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How Brands Are Cultivating the Individual Retail Investor

While the COVID-19 pandemic triggered, among many things, shortages of toilet paper, it also escalated the buying and selling of $211B individual stocks, which is the highest level since 2014. Several companies have taken note of this and are taking a personalized approach to marketing to and engaging with this prospective retail investor.

As first reported here, after CarParts.com finished their quarterly earnings call with investors, there was a second call. This time, the CarParts.com executive team was on talk radio show Clubhouse, along with 2,000 guests who were able to field more consumer-oriented questions about how the business worked, e.g., why were they able to offer lower prices than competitors? And were their shares worth buying?

The CFO/COO of CarParts.com described this as an experiment: “We’re trying to disrupt the way people fix their cars,” he said. “Is there a way for us to disrupt how retail investors communicate with management?”

The key message here is how brands can take advantage of a talk radio show platform like Clubhouse to cultivate the individual retail investor while potentially increasing their share price through marketing that is unscripted, transparent and authentic.

While this approach may not be appropriate for every brand or organization, it certainly does add an indisputable component to their PR, messaging and brand strategy by blending the messaging or questions via owned media (the brand channel) and earned media (reviews or comments by their audience), all within in one conversation and platform. Consider how Progressive’s Flo, a scientist at Pfizer, or the key leadership team representing a merger or acquisition could be opportunistic with current and prospective shareholders through this virtual town hall event, which can be hosted anywhere.

In 2006, when Twitter first launched, many brands were skeptical and remained on the sidelines as they watched and learned from the mistakes of other brands and organizations about the importance of what to post, frequency, tone and voice, and how to cultivate a community through transparency and responsiveness.

I believe the same will happen here and that platforms like Clubhouse will be an important asset in driving both a meaningful and honest dialogue with the consumer, who also happens to be their shareholder.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or to discuss further.

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