How to build a media strategy for a successful ASX IPO
Special Report: In this article, Third Hemisphere founder and managing director, Hannah Moreno, and executive director, Jeremy Liddle, talk to Stockhead about the important things to consider when listing for an IPO.
Listing day can be one of the most amazing moments in a founder or CEO’s career.
Yet anyone who’s been through the process knows that preparing for a successful IPO starts years before the bell is rung and you crack out the branded cupcakes and bubbles.
Below is an outline of the media activities you should plan for in the lead up to your IPO.
At this stage, you will have decided IPO is the best course of action, assessed your IPO readiness, and begun working on any gaps.
You will have formulated a plan B capital strategy, just in case, and started building out capital markets infrastructure such as investor comms, brokers, institutions, platforms, and other distribution systems, processes, and technologies.
Ideally you have already spent months or years leveraging the news media to build awareness and trust with customers, capital markets, and other stakeholders. If you haven’t, now is the best time to start.
It’s now time to assemble a dream team of bankers, brokers, auditors, and lawyers who will help to prepare and fine-tune your business plan and IPO presentation materials.
This is also when you should select an investor relations team that can work closely with your media relations team.
These two separate yet deeply integrated functions will jointly develop an IPO communications timeline complete with roles, responsibilities, processes, and KPIs.
The goal now is to strategically and compellingly communicate your capital strategy, valuation framework, and returns potential to current and potential investors, based on initial market feedback. The IR and media team are the ones who will jointly deliver this.
Things are getting serious. Your financial information is being finalised and plugged into a shiny new prospectus, and you are preparing your listing application and undertaking a due diligence process.
During this time you should be aggressively raising awareness about your brand, growth, aspirations, industry leadership, and the strong calibre of your executive team.
The Corporations Act strictly limits advertising your IPO before you’ve lodged your prospectus with ASIC. But you can still promote to investors through roadshows, and private meetings, and there are some tactics that can be carefully employed to specific media channels.
At this stage, it is absolutely critical to manage leaks of sensitive financial or company information to the media. So it should be very clear to every member of your IPO team that all media should be managed by your PR team.
Your brokers are not media or communications experts – even if they might have a few journo’s on speed dial.
We’ve seen far too many rogue brokers leak sensitive information without the appropriate context or precautions.
The result is often damaging media coverage that requires crisis comms when numbers aren’t met or investors complain.
The big day has finally arrived! Now the real work begins.
Your share price will likely fluctuate on this first day, so it pays to have a few media tactics up your sleeve to react to a range of circumstances.
You should have a media release prepared for distribution at around midday that can be tweaked to either exult the virtues of your increased share price, or explain why external factors such as market conditions have impeded the price initially.
What happens throughout the rest of the day is also important. Even interested journalists won’t be watching price fluctuations at every moment, so make their job easier and let them know when it moves – up.
And so begins the first day of the rest of your life.
Media strategy for listed companies is an entire article in and of itself. There is too much to cover under one sub-heading here.
But the one thing you must prepare for is the first milestone announcement after you are listed. You want to have a killer ASX announcement and media release up your sleeve to update the market within the first month, and then a robust and consistent proactive media strategy beyond that.
It is now your job to deliver on your promises to your multitude of new stakeholders as a public company. This includes coordinating your media activities with ASX disclosures that are compliant with the Corporations Act.
Your media and IR teams must continue to work together on an integrated communications calendar that factors in results, road shows, shareholder updates, forecasting and guidance, high quality corporate governance, and more.
It’s an exciting time, but the stakes are far higher now.
Choose your media team wisely!
This article was developed in collaboration with Third Hemisphere, a specialist in technology and finance public relations (PR) with a focus on pre-IPO and ASX-listed companies.
Third Hemisphere is a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.