PR: Your Partner for a Successful IPO, Pt. 2
By Cara Sloman, Chief Executive Officer
In the first half of this two-part IPO series, we looked at the how a skilled PR team can help raise awareness for companies during the “quiet period” and “pre-quiet period” of an IPO process. Now, we take a look at three tools we have used with great success for our clients along the entire IPO path: collateral, press releases and analyst and press tours.
Commission a high-level marketing white paper six months before the IPO. The white paper should typically define market, products and position. The document will serve as a resource for analysts, investors and press to look to throughout the pre-IPO process.
We recommend creating PowerPoint presentations that reflect the white paper messaging for both the press tour and the in-depth analyst briefings. Four months prior to an IPO, conduct technical presentations to highlight new customers and technology. A high-level presentation that describes market potential and strategy to garner market share should be given approximately two months prior to the IPO filing date.
- Press Releases
Based on our experience, a cadence of news announcements release about every two weeks is ideal. Throughout the IPO process, press releases based on substantial news should be the goal. Work with your PR team to position significant announcements which will support press and analyst tours.
How law firms interpret SEC regulations will vary, but most allow releases during the quiet period that don’t hype the stock. During the quiet period, partnership, staffing and product announcements and, in some cases, customer wins, are generally allowed. Company attorneys will need to approve and sign off all press releases before being submitted to the news wires once the S-1 has been filed.
- Analyst and Press Tours
We also recommend conducting a press and analyst tour right before the quiet period begins based on significant news. Doing so will generate press throughout the quiet period and a majority of coverage to appear concurrently with the IPO.
Your company will be fresh in the minds of major analyst groups during this time if you have held briefings with them ahead of the quiet period. When investors call for background information, the analysts will be primed to respond. Plan a press and analyst tour to take place shortly after the IPO to continue to drive momentum.
Plan for Success
An IPO is a singular moment in the life of a company. It only happens once, so there are no second chances to get it right. A successful IPO involves a clear, well-mapped communications strategy that must strictly adhere to the SEC’s disclosure guidelines. This requires a coordinated effort among your PR firm, IPO team, legal team and other vested parties. Plan to start this process a year ahead of the IPO and continue it well after the company’s stock begins trading publicly. In this way, your strategic messaging will resonate among your key audiences at just the right time.