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November 15, 2019

Your website and your IPO – why not do the last thing, first

Written by Simon Gittings
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Your website and your IPO – why not do the last thing, first.

 

The last thing you’ll probably think about when you are getting ready to IPO is your website -- at least that bit of it devoted to corporate audiences (investors, analysts, media etc.) You’ve got a prospectus to write, lawyers to appease, roadshows to organize, and investors to convince. But, your investor relations or corporate website is a vital part of your communications strategy, and unlike your prospectus it’s something you can sort out now – regardless of when you plan on going public.

If you’re going to meet someone (professionally or romantically), buy something, visit somewhere, eat somewhere – or even drink somewhere – you’re probably going to look them (or it) up online. And you’re going to make an almost instant decision about them (or it) based on what you see.

Our research, and research by pretty much every well-respected big consultancy firm (not that I’m putting us in the same bucket of course), shows that institutional investors do the same thing when researching potential investment opportunities. 

They research them online.

Even when it comes to the world’s largest companies, which have extensive profiles on Bloomberg and in the financial media, we see investors and analysts looking at company websites every day as part of their investment research.

So, for companies looking to raise equity through a public listing – or who simply want to raise their profile within the investment community – presenting a strong company story online is a must.

So, what should you say?

Every great pitch starts with an undeniable truth. Here’s mine:

The world has changed. We are living in a rapidly changing world in which loss-making start-ups are worth millions (sometimes billions), but respected household names can disappear overnight. Increasingly, past performance is no longer a predictor of future success. Today, predictions of future success increasingly revolve around assessments of the ability to innovate, sustainable business practices and strategic alignment with the mega-trends that are fundamentally and irreversibly changing our society -- rather than around profit margins and balance sheets.

So, what should you focus on from a communications perspective?

Everything starts with a strong strategy and a business model that clearly articulates how you create value and how you will continue to do so. Notice, I said create value – not cash. The assessment of value creation is no longer focused just on financial capital, but also on other drivers such as serving the people who make them successful, inclusive of their customers, employees, and suppliers.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the fundamentals of your business. Market share, penetration and access; assets, management team, and governance; intellectual rights and even how you got to where you are today all matter. So, too, is being able to demonstrate that all important alignment with the societal and technological mega-trends shaping our world, resilience to (or indeed opportunities created by) climate change and associated societal and regulatory pressures.  

In short, you need to tell your story – all of it – and you need to be able to do it in the context of the rapidly changing world in which live.

And how should you say it?

The written word is great, but in our world of podcasts, on-demand content, soundbites, clickbait, fake news and streaming, to be heard – to cut through the noise – you should consider investing in richer content as well. And it is an investment. From the C-suite to the millennials who are increasingly advising them, we are ever more reliant on consuming our news, insights and research through video, animation, infographics, and even immersive reality (virtual reality and augmented reality). Even the humble photograph can provide an authentic foundation for turning an abstract concept into a compelling reality. 

In short, companies increasingly need to behave like journalists and think like editors. Creating compelling, visually engaging content is essential if they are going to get the attention of time-poor investors.

Should you bother?

All this talk of strategy and business models, videos and infographics can be daunting for a company in the early stages of an IPO. Yes, it’s a big ask – but so is your ask of potential investors. To put their faith in you and your business in our turbulent times with a rapidly changing political landscape, disrupted by societal demands and increasingly dominant, disruptive technologies, is a big ask.

So why not demonstrate your faith in your business by investing in an engaging, and informative corporate website that shows, not just tells, why your business is an attractive, long-term investment proposition? A website that demonstrates that you’re forward looking, aware of, and aligned with our changing world, and possess a strategy for both short and long-term success.

The sooner you start, the less painful it will be – after all, the last thing you want to worry about when you IPO is your website.

Contact Investis Digital

For more insight into how to tell your brand’s story to shareholders, employees, and customers, contact Investis Digital.

From results and regulatory releases, to complex embargoed announcements, we make sure that our clients’ digital communications are always on time, on message, and error-free. Our service team is on hand day or night, every day of the year, to assist with clients’ communication needs, whether that’s posting a press release, running and managing a results webcast, or preparing your website for an IPO.

Our Connected Content™ gives you access to the best of corporate communications and performance marketing, meaning you can efficiently and confidently reach the people who matter. This is why 2,000 leading companies trust us to manage their digital IR communications. Contact Investis Digital to learn more.

 

 

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