The critical role of corporate narrative in your IPO journey
When preparing to go public, engaging stakeholders with your story can have a tangible impact.
Despite a significant slowdown of the IPO market in 2022 due to several contributing factors (for example, global instability and inflation uncertainty), IPOs often remain the best option for ambitious companies willing to grow. However, preparing for an IPO comes with many challenges –from understanding the regulations and being legally fit, to putting the right governance in place and getting to know your stakeholders’ expectations.
Emperor once again partnered up with Euronext Dublin for their IPOready programme. Among the many aspects of an IPO that companies need prepare for, we focused on the importance of having a clearly defined corporate narrative, purpose and vision.
One aspect of this IPO process companies often overlook is the importance of communicating these in a clear and efficient way, and as early as possible. Not just to new audiences such as potential investors and analysts, but also to the essential old guard of employees, customers and the media.
So why should companies focus on their corporate narrative?
Because you have to!
With both the QCA and the UK Corporate Governance Codes asking companies to establish, embed and communicate on purpose, values and strategy, and align them with corporate culture – and to demonstrate stakeholder engagement and how they generate long-term value – defining a clear corporate narrative is not just best practice, it is compulsory.
Because you don’t want to fall behind
Markets are constantly evolving and both retail and institutional investors have far more visibility into companies. Expectations have changed; there’s an ever-increasing social conscience among younger generations and a demand for ESG (environmental, social and governance) scrutiny that is transforming investing.
Because it works
According to a recent PWC survey of 275 CEOs, 63% said their company’s purpose made a positive contribution to their revenue growth. 83% also expressed confidence that purpose served as a valuable guide for the business decisions they made, and 96% said that instilling values that can affect how employees behave is critical to their company’s success. Now, those are some telling figures.
How to bring your story to life
In the face of those driving forces, however, turning appetite into action is always easier said than done. As usual, there is no one size fits all approach and each company will have different objectives. However, we managed to put together a few top tips for companies to communicate their story:
Be transparent: Transparency and authenticity are key when communicating the steps being taken to make a positive and sustainable impact. ‘Greenwash’ your story and risk the repercussions.
Be accessible and engaging: Adapt your content to your audience and tell your story in an engaging way, with the right tone of voice and through creative use of design.
Be consistent: Although there should be nuance for difference stakeholders, overall, yourcommunications should be consistent for all audiences, across all channels. A joined-up story will also say much more and be better understood by everyone.
Be inclusive: Evidence value creation for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
Be 365: Telling your story, andcorporate communications in general, is never a one-off project, it needs to be a sustained, year-round exercise to be truly valuable.
The success of an IPO depends on numerous factors, and not all can be controlled. By clearly defining your corporate narrative, purpose and vision, you will better engage and connect with your stakeholders, thus increasing your chances of success pre and post-IPO.
Whether you’re considering an IPO or a pre-IPO or have recently listed, we would be delighted to discuss your evolving stakeholder communications and how we have helped other clients through this journey. Get in touch with Valentin Ramousse at [email protected] or +44 (0)131 220 7993.