The Power of a Perception Study

Dive deep into stakeholder sentiment and propel your company’s valuation forward with data-driven insights.

Strategic Insights

Understand how your company is perceived by investors, allowing you to make informed decisions based on data-driven insights for improvement in communication and positioning.

Increased Confidence

Boost stakeholder confidence with a deeper understanding of market perceptions. Uncover how your company is viewed, fostering trust and driving greater support for your initiatives.

Competitive Edge

Gain a competitive advantage by understanding how your company is perceived relative to peers, allowing you to differentiate your brand effectively and capitalize on new market opportunities.

Investor Perception Study Pioneers

At Rivel, pioneering investor perception research isn't just a legacy—it's our DNA. Art Rivel, who invented the perception study in 1972, founded our company in 1991. Since then, we've been the vanguard of this field, setting the gold standard for over three decades.

Our methodology is our hallmark. We don't settle for half-measures. Our perception studies are meticulously crafted, marrying qualitative depth with quantitative rigor, because true understanding demands both. Qualitative insights provide awareness, but it's the quantitative data that reveals key thought patterns, guiding strategic decision-making and driving valuation.

The Case for Perception Research

Before embarking on an investor audit, consider these four questions.
If you answer yes to any of them, then quantifying results from a Rivel perception study is the only way to achieve this and interviews must be anonymous.

Do you wish to track investor perceptions/responses over time?

Is understanding differences between investor audiences crucial to you?

Is it important to measure investor perceptions of your company against peers and others?


Is it more powerful if feedback on your company is guaranteed to be candid?

"The CEO has a great track record. The fact that he's doing a perception study with Rivel shows he values the views of shareholders. He wants to hear from us, he wants the board to hear from us, and he recognizes that there are improvements to be made."

Case Studies


Knowing your investors

Management of a long-standing mega-cap "Wall Street Darling" had a hard time accepting that its growth was slowing. They wanted IR to focus on keeping and attracting growth investors. The problem was that while growth investors were getting all this attention/access from leadership, this audience kept edging away in ownership and interest. Instead, it was the GARP investor that was now interested and attracted, but management provided very little "love" to this group, leaving them with a lot of questions and uncertainty. IR, management and investors were all frustrated. The study indicated that the company needed to focus on GARP and everyone would be happy. They did, and everyone became more aligned and the stock less volatile.

Consumer Discretionary

The importance of guidance

A large consumer discretionary company had a very poor track record related to production growth guidance. After a couple of studies, data showed consistent support that the investors preferred EPS guidance instead. Initially, there was some shareholder turnover, but the EPS approach was very well received as it was where the company could be more consistent quarterly and annually. This reestablished credibility and really turned the stock around.


Messaging and credibility

A mid-cap CEO was frustrated that execution was consistent, but the valuation lagged. The study showed that investors felt the company still had to prove itself as an entity that delivered on its promises consistently to warrant a higher valuation. The management, board and IR were convinced the Street was overlooking their accomplishments. Using data from our study, they established a blueprint for building CEO credibility — this included a slide in every earnings call that listed its promises, check marks next to promises that were delivered upon, and progress on the remaining ones. Study after study, we began to see investors and analysts commenting on how the company “has a strong track record of execution."

M&A and activism

This large-cap company engaged Rivel for numerous studies to help guide its strategic decisions. At first, the company was facing pushback about one of its five divisions that was perceived as a poor fit strategically. In the first study, there was frustration around this underperforming division. Investors were asking why it was part of the portfolio. In the second study, there was even more frustration around this business and investors wanted further explanations. The company wasn’t articulating the rationalization of how it fit strategically into the overall business. Between the second and third study, an activist showed up and started making some noise about performance. By the third study, the division was a huge albatross — poor performance and even poorer communications about why it still needed to be part of the portfolio.

Our consultative advice at the end of the third study was with the board. We said, “You can’t explain it well and it’s underperforming. What is the risk of spinning this out? Maybe even more importantly, what is the risk of holding on to it?” The board decided to spin that division off as a result of the feedback. The day of the spin-off, the parent company’s stock rose 22%. Investors rejoiced — it was what they had been seeking for many years. The activist sold off their position, and the company is now in fantastic shape.


Business portfolio management

A pipeline company was considering strategic options for its business. Investors were not happy that steady cash flow generated by one division was being reinvested into a less predictable and riskier business. The perception study revealed how investors thought about this segment and that investors would not continue to support the current structure. It convinced management and the board that an MLP needed to be created in order to separate the assets. This would unlock value and create an opportunity for reinvestment into one of the businesses, and the other to be an attractive opportunity for a bigger player to acquire, which is exactly what followed.


Re-establishing reputation

The company came out of the financial crisis with heavy damage to its corporate reputation. Our work enabled management and the board to accurately gauge how well and how quickly this reputation could be repaired. The management team was able to put a well-defined plan in place that included changes to the company structure, portfolio diversification and establishing credibility metrics.

Information Technology

The importance of messaging

Investors believed this company’s guidance was unrealistic, which greatly impacted management’s credibility. A 2x GDP growth rate was being telegraphed, but a perception study showed that investors thought leadership was overly bullish and that 1x to 1.5x was a lot more realistic. Since the company was clearly not going to get credit for 2x — which even the top executives agreed was a stretch — they adjusted messaging to “above GDP” and not only avoided a credibility disaster, but were able to meet or (slightly) beat consistently.


Identifying activism risk

Rivel was engaged by the board of a super-mega cap company to aid in its development of an activism preparedness plan by conducting a perception study. The company needed to understand how they could possibly be targeted by an activist so that they could adjust their strategic plans. Following two studies, the CEO and CFO stated plainly, “The results of this project show us exactly where we are vulnerable if an activist was to attack our company.”

Trusted by Industry Leaders

Gain unparalleled insight into how stakeholders perceive your company, its trajectory and your investment narrative. With over 20,000 interviews conducted in the last five years and results delivered to more than 1,625 management teams and boards, our track record speaks for itself.

At Rivel, we're not just leaders in investor perception research; we're partners in your success.

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