What to start doing now for an IPO next year

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By Hannah Devoy, Creative Director

Ahead of an IPO, there's a lot for businesses to think about. One of the most important considerations is the strength of its brand. 

2023 saw an 8% drop in IPO volumes worldwide, but as economic confidence gradually returns, businesses are revisiting plans for listing.  

If this is their intention, now is the time to put the right comms strategy in place. Building up a strong brand takes time to make the right impact.  

While each business will need a different approach, there are a few things that ring true for all. Here are my top recommendations for any business aiming for IPO in the coming years. 

  1. Clean up owned channels 

First things first, the business should take a step back and consider whether it’s time for a brand refresh? Does the website act as the best possible shop window for the wider industry?  

If not, it’s probably time for a change. 

Likewise, socials should show a regular cadence of activity that reinforces key messages – a social audit could help reveal any opportunities for optimisation.  

Building up an engaged community will also add value and help demonstrate future opportunities for growth.

  1. Counter damaging associations  

Consider what could damage a valuation in the long run?  

The more time there is before listing, the greater runway a team has to correct any negative perceptions and fix problematic brand associations.  

This might involve digging deep into the company’s history to identify potential challenges.

  1. Highlight the long-term potential of the business 

This is critical. It might mean using data to demonstrate audience need; highlighting potential for product diversification; showing the strength of a community, or something else entirely.

  1. Firm up the USPs. And then shout about them

What sets the business apart from competitors?  

Product USPs may not be as distinct as founders suggest, meaning a company may have to lean more heavily on building a powerful, purpose-led brand.

  1. Make sure the financial narrative marries well with marketing messages 

The CFO will naturally want to focus on the numbers, but the narrative around those must tie in closely with investor relations to set the scene for success when a company does IPO. 

This could mean a brand needs to...

  1. Invest in its ESG and DE&I strategy 

Investors are increasingly keen to ensure their portfolios align with social and environmental values. And no investor wants to worry that a business they’ve invested in might attract controversy in years to come!  

Now is the time for businesses to ensure they have the right policies in place and that their values and commitments are well communicated to the outside world.

  1. Build brand awareness online  

When a business is Googled, what comes up? Is it first in search rankings? What’s SEO like? How well does the business rank for specific key words?  

All of this matters.  

As well as ensuring a website is optimised, content and PR coverage should include specific key words/phrases and links.

  1. Gain exposure in the right places 

Knowing where target investors are most engaged and where they’ll expect to see a brand is crucial to success.  

National coverage helps due to audience reach but trade media is also important. A mention from an expert journalist or analyst will help give credibility to a business.  

  1. Don’t forget the importance of employees 

Investors need to feel confident in the strength of a leadership team. A known figurehead with a dedicated following will also be invaluable for sales. 

Having a plan in place for building key stakeholders up as thought leaders is a must, considering traditional media as well as social channels.

A company’s brand and public profile will probably be the first touchpoint an investor has with a business. A strong brand is critical for long-term growth potential and is therefore essential for any organisation wanting to list. Teams should be building this now, to give their IPO the greatest chances for success when the time comes. 

Missive is an integrated communications consultancy with deep tech sector specialisms built from years of industry experience. We work with some of the UK’s most innovative brands to deliver measurable business impact through integrated PR & Comms.  

Read more about our work re-positioning open banking pioneer Nuapay on its path to acquisition

If you’re considering an IPO or major business move in the coming years, get in touch to find out how we can help you prepare your comms strategy.

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