February 15, 2012

PR Protocol

I recently asked management why a PR was not issued about Craig's presentation at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference. The company's protocol for issuing PRs about management presentations at investor-oriented conferences is based on whether the presentation is webcast. If the presentation is webcast, a PR is issued. If it is not, no PR is issued. For example, Craig's presentation at the Noble Financial Capital Markets Conference was webcast. As a result, a PR was issued. His presentation at BIO CEO was not. No PR was issued.

I told management I disagreed with this protocol (see expanded rationale below). I do not think there is a fine line between substantive PR and hype. I think the line is, in fact, very wide. Objective dispassion can be achieved in writing PRs (having done it myself "in-house" for a portfolio company of mine some time back). Self-aggrandizing or hyperbolic PRs are pretty easy to spot (I don't mean to pick on these folks, but if you have to issue a PR on this topic, then...). I would argue the company has a history of being informative and/or substantive in its PRs, and not prone to hyperbole or being vacuous.

Attendance at these investor-oriented conferences is used by companies primarily to raise market awareness: Let investors know more about you so they, the investors, will buy more of your shares. If you do a bad job, you've probably presented them with a rationale for shorting your stock.

Provectus is somewhat hamstrung for now by being a penny stock traded over the counter. Some prospective buyers cannot or will not buy shares under a certain price per share. Others cannot or will not buy OTC shares. The larger point is that most hedge funds, whether biotechnology-focused or simply long-short "whatever," are specifically or generally momentum types. Broadly speaking, HFs will pile into a stock of which they are made aware, whether this means the stock because of its price (read: higher than a few dollars in share price) or its rising (or falling) price pops up on their screens (causing them to do some research into it, or buying or shorting because the growing herd is doing the same). Not as many potential institutional investors or HFs are looking at Provectus stock (or the company) at the present time as you would think or hope.

Not issuing a "simple," straightforward or down-the-middle-of-the-fairway PR about Craig's presentation at BIO CEO is a small lost opportunity to increase company awareness to a subset of the investor class.

I understand the protocol will be reviewed amongst themselves and with the company's PR firm, PLR; however, I do not think it will change. Craig and the team set a high PR bar in regards to disseminating clinical trial or clinical data. It appears they set a similarly high PR bar for investor-oriented conference participation as well.

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