The build-up to an initial public offering (IPO) means juggling multiple tasks at once. Among everything else you’re also figuring out how to communicate your brand as you start the process.
Why you need to think about branding for an IPO.
Investors are looking for companies that have a good story to tell. Having a strong brand helps you set yourself apart from the pack. This is especially true for small companies that are relatively new to investors.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime introduction for any company. It will also be the first time that many will have such a spotlight on them from investors, trade publications, and the general public. There’s no do-over so it’s important to get everything just right before launch.
So how do you lay the foundation to make sure everything goes well?
Work with partners experienced with IPOs.
An IPO is intense but having partners who understand what it means to go through the process makes things much easier. That’s why it’s crucial to collaborate with people already familiar with going public. At the very least, it will reduce your workload and your to-do list of things to keep track of.
Whoever you bring onto your IPO team should know about the rules and how to make things as smooth as possible.
Get the language in your brand communications right.
Kristian stresses that for a drug development company like Ascelia Pharma it was important that they worked on simplifying the language surrounding their work. Speaking with Ascelia Pharma CFO, Kristian Borbos, he stressed the need for simplicity during their IPO.
“You can’t speak about how the drug enters your body and affects organs,” he says, “we had to go from a pharmaceutical company that mainly communicates to doctors and researchers to speaking to Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
Simplicity is especially necessary for owned channels like your website and social media.
Pay attention to your website.
Speaking of your website – it is an essential part of your communication strategy. This is where investors, media, and other curious parties will turn to for more information about your company.
According to Kristian, “You build your branding through the website in an IPO. Decision-makers will turn to the website to learn more about you.”
Beyond that it’s also important to remember there are mandatory elements that need to be added to your site as part of the IPO process. You need to add investor relations (IR) contacts and articles of association.
If you’re working with an external agency to build or manage your site, this is when their prior expertise comes in handy.
Prepare press release templates and brand images.
Each press release is a mini-presentation to investors and industry media. They are a perfect opportunity for getting both audiences familiar with your brand throughout the IPO process and beyond.
In many ways, press releases set the expectations for the next stage of your business growth. To make them as perfect as possible, have press release brand images and your logos ready to go. If you are working with an external PR agency, make sure to review your brand guidelines and approve templates before the ball gets rolling.
Give external partners structured access to brand assets.
Your external partners need to be able to quickly understand your brand story, brand identity, and brand assets, especially if you are working with communication and PR agencies. They need access to logos, brand images and brand guidelines to create the best results for your company.
Having all these documents in one easily accessible area will save you and your partners a lot of time, and numerous emails, throughout the months of preparation. It also helps you have better control over brand consistency, which is crucial for appearing organized.
Bringing it all together for IPO success.
A brand is much more than having a good logo. It includes the values that drive a company, the brand’s persona, and crafting messages that resonate with customers.
Bringing all these elements together helps your team build a strong foundation when prepping for a public offering.
Here are the highlights of what you need for IPO branding success:
1) Think of how to streamline your communication and branding before the process begins.
2) Work with experienced external partners who are familiar with the IPO process and its rules.
3) Ensure your language is easy to understand for people without direct knowledge of your niche – communicate in plain English (or your primary language) as much as possible.
4) Make sure your website is prepared for primetime and has all the mandatory elements necessary in an IPO.
5) Give partners the necessary access to your brand assets and ensure they understand your guidelines on how to use them.
An IPO is intense and requires a lot of work and preparation. However, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience.
This post is adapted from the original appearing on brandox.com.