The Rise of the ‘Publicly Accessible’ Private Companies

A new dichotomy in corporate reporting has emerged. Public companies appear to be on one side; large, private companies on the other.

Among public companies, the high burdens of compliance and the myriad responsibilities have caused some communications and investor relations professionals to downplay, downsize or even eliminate the glossy annual report altogether.

On the other hand are the communications teams at large, private companies that wish they had such a communications tool – for a wide variety of reasons, including transparency, recruiting, sales and, ironically, to be seen as equals to their public company peers and competitors. So they are pushing aggressively to create a corporate brochure, profile, fact sheet series, corporate social responsibility report and/or other forms of proactive communications with stakeholders.

As I see it, the two trends are as unmistakable as they are simultaneous. The compliance burden on public companies continues to grow exponentially and is dominating their annual reporting concerns, while private companies are finding benefits in being both private and “publicly accessible.” That’s my explanation for the dichotomy. What’s yours?

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