An IPO can be a game changer for your organisation, propelling it to new heights. There are new investments, new regulations and new stockholders who bring in more money, catapulting a company’s brand to a global conglomerate level. Before you celebrate though – and there’s reason enough – remember that an IPO is not an end but a new beginning. Your company is now public, its account books and reputation open to scrutiny from every investor, government official and journalist.
Which is why we suggest that you invest in building your brand further through consistent Public Relations efforts. Ideally it should start several months before your IPO. Companies need to build a robust PR and communications strategy along with various other preparations to create the right degree of buzz. Organisations should also consider their long term plans to communicate with the investors, before and after the IPO. After all, companies that have strong branding are also known to have higher share prices and can survive stock market turbulence better.
This is the time to prepare communication, build a narrative that everyone from journalists to investors can trust and community earnestly about what the money raised from the public will be used for. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Creating the company story – While taking care of communications prior to and during the IPO, companies also need to work on marketing strategies for a successful transition after the IPO with their PR teams. It’s important to consider what the investors look up to when you’re creating your brand story and ensure that your company not only delivers it, but also builds a brand around it. A compelling, ethical growth story can be very effective, as in the case of Auto1 which started as a small scale used car marketplace but went public in February 2021, achieving decacorn status with a market cap of €11 billion.
- Being prepared for media attention – There will be changes within the company, right down to the corporate culture and the company will be the cynosure of media attention. This means that your company needs to develop its content keeping in mind all these new audiences – be it journalists, the government or your investors – and ensure that it is delivered in a consistent and reliable manner, making you a trustworthy brand.
- Training the spokespersons – You need to ideally train spokespersons who epitomise the company’s values, such as the CEO. The CEO is the voice and the face of a company and represents the company and its brand. The CFO as well plays an important role, when it comes to Investor Relations communication and talking to journalists, focusing on financial reportings.
It is important that spokespersons are given media training so that they follow the approved storyline, without violating any governmental regulations or making goof-ups that might become expensive for your company’s reputation. They need to communicate the company’s story and values consistently.
Consistent wording is key to build up a stronig brand.
After all, brand value is built not only by media and social media, but by the company’s employees too. It’s a narrative that emerges organically through its people, over a period of time.
- Being prepared for a crisis – An organisation’s life is unpredictable and anything can go wrong. A crisis never announces its intention before wreaking havoc and it can damage a company’s reputation and plunge the market value of its shares. You need a crisis communications plan in place. It is imperative to be prepared for the worst because it helps ensure the best outcome. Even if a crisis occurs, with a well-thought out plan in place, its impact can be minimised and you’ll know how to leverage your existing assets to control and shape the narrative.
- ESG Compliance – After an IPO, the company is also under a great deal of scrutiny, not just from media and investors but also Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) regulation. The ECG performance of a company has a great deal of impact, especially after going public. Investors are now looking for sustainable equity and will deeply delve into a company’s track record when it comes to addressing ESG issues. It’s important not only to comply with ESG regulations in the countries you operate in, but also communicate this consistently so your investors know that you’re aiming for a sustainable business.
It is impossible to ignore or downplay the role of PR and communications in an organisation’s timeline, especially after it goes public. Centre the investors in your narrative by giving them the chance to see why the investment in your organisation will matter to them, the organisation itself and to the larger society–not only now, but in the long run. This is especially important because it means that your company can operate successfully in the public sphere for decades to come.