What goes into a successful results day?
Its 5am and my phone lights up and buzzes with a new notification. I glance over and the calendar alert has the words “Full Year Results – [insert client here]” in the description. This is the day, my work life belongs to [insert client here]; well the previous two weeks have also been dedicated to them, to be honest.
I make my way to the office by 6am, office key in hand. For many, this is the nerve-wracking part; open the doors without setting off the alarms. Success! The silence is now deafening, can hear all the creaks and groans of this old building; but enough of that, it’s time to get to work.
Two weeks to deadline – The prep work begins
Time to give the client a little nudge. It usually starts with an email or phone call to the client to quickly discuss requirements. As shocking as this may sound, some clients are completely oblivious to key financial dates. Luckily for me, my clients are on the ball.
It is after this initial communication, that the Digital Communications Managers (DCM) get our heads down and start writing up an outline of all work that needs to be actioned by the team. It becomes the Holy Grail, as the whole event hinges on this one (sometimes two) document/s. Without it, the whole process would crumble. Once the document is finalised, it’s reviewed by the team of producers and quality analysts before being sent to the client for review and sign-off.
Getting confirmations from the client and sign-offs on the outline is a touch-and-go process. The main reason is that, at times, the client themselves can’t be sure about when exactly it will happen. Many use third-party agencies and we all know that these financial details are held tighter than your darkest secrets.
Now that we have a better grasp of the quantity of work, it’s time to get some allocated resources. Emails are sent and phone calls are made between internal teams, all to get the right people on board. For full year results, we usually have a team of 2 producers and 2 quality analysts. This allows coverage across all the hours as documents and changes come in on a regular basis. Don’t forget, these same producers and quality analysts are still expected to carry out daily maintenance tasks across the numerous clients that use our service teams.
One week to deadline – Implementation
The producers can finally get their hands dirty. As the actual financial data only comes in the night before the results, the producers are unable to action every element of the work that needs to be carried out. But we still do as much as possible in anticipation of the last minute data. All the basic, non-critical work is carried out. Whenever possible (or specifically requested by the client), we also send it across for review and approval. Every approval we get from the client is one step closer to the finish line.
One day to go – The overnight shift
This isn’t always needed; but for some of our larger clients, it’s pretty much expected due to the volume of work. Most of the financial documents will arrive between 9pm and midnight; this includes press releases and financial data. The DCMs are on hand for any queries or client communications that need to be carried out and overall management; the producers get to work on the final items and the quality analysts check work. After a hard nights work, everything is sent to the client for final review and approval. This is when the quality and attention to detail of the producers, quality analysts and DCMs really shows. If there are no errors, then everything is signed-off smoothly.
Many might think we have a large red button that executes the publishing of all the hard work we’ve done. What we have instead, is a dull orange button that looks like a basket and a long list of items on the screen. No fireworks, no popping of champagne bottles, just the satisfaction that everything went as planned.
Emails giving a summary of events and feedback from client are sent to account directors, team leaders, and everyone who was involved with the event. So it’s time to put your feet up with a pint of beer (or glass of wine); but no! It’s business as usual and straight onto the next result event with another client to repeat the process all over again.
So as you can see, it can get pretty hectic. Every task is a ball in the air and we have to juggle our workloads of our numerous clients. But luckily not all results are equally complex. IMS’ can be as simple as a press release and an alert, but Half years can be just as daunting as the above. And then there are the Annual Reports…