An IPO is a game changer for an organisation, propelling it to new heights. There are new investments, new regulations and new shareholders who bring in more money, catapulting a company’s brand to a global conglomerate level. Before you celebrate, though – and there’s reason enough – please 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. Companies must build a robust PR and communications strategy and other preparations to create the right buzz. This is why we suggest you invest in building your brand further through consistent Public Relations efforts. Ideally, it should start several months before your IPO. 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 and 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 before and during the IPO, companies must also work on marketing strategies to successfully 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 delivers it and 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. Your company needs to develop its content keeping in mind all these new audiences – journalists, the government, or your investors – and ensure that it is delivered consistently and reliably, making you a trustworthy brand.
- Training the spokespersons – You need to ideally trainspokespersons 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 also plays an essential role in Investor Relations communication and talking to journalists, focusing on financial reporting.
Spokespersons must be given media training to follow the approved storyline without violating 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 vital in building up a strong 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 some 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. Preparing for the worst is imperative because it helps ensure the best outcome. You need a crisis communications plan in place. Even if a crisis occurs, with a well-thought-out plan, 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 forsustainable equity and will deeply delve into a company’s track record when it comes to addressing ESG issues. It’s essential to comply with ESG regulations in the countries you operate and to communicate this consistently. Hence 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 a chance to see why the investment in your organisation will matter to them, the organisation itself, and the larger society–not only now but in the long run. This is especially important because it means your company can operate successfully in the public sphere for decades.