Investments, whether made by individual investors or professional investment managers, are expressions of confidence in management's ability to build shareholder value. The building process may be short-term or long. It may reflect a plan for the corporation's business, or only for its stock. But, the questions come down to three. Does management have a plan? Does the plan match investor perceptions of economic and market reality? Is there evidence of management's commitment to the plan?

With literally hundreds of thousands of investment options available in a truly global marketplace, no investor, no matter how sophisticated, has the time or ability to ask and answer these questions about every company.

Two key factors must be at play: defining management's commitment powerfully; and communicating that definition (and the supporting performance) to those who really influence investment decision-making.

Ostrow & Partners Investor Relations programs begin with a thorough analysis of the true influencers of a client company's stock. Which analysts are "gate-keepers" to other analysts and media? Which fund managers have concentrated on the client's industry, what are the characteristics of their portfolios, which "peer" companies are in them, and for how long? Who do individual investors see as the most knowledgeable reporters on the industry, and which analysts and fund managers do those reporters quote? Once the influencers have been identified, a second phase of research is recommended. What do the analysts and portfolio managers active in the industry segment think of the segment, and of the company? How do they evaluate the company's performance and plans against "peers." What messages do they need to hear from management? In what manner do they prefer to receive management communications? What are their key quantitative signals? To whom do they look for opinion and judgment?

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