Four Reasons Why Branding is Crucial for an Initial Public Offering


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As companies gear up for an initial public offering (IPO), the focus often zeroes in on financials, market potentials and operational readiness. However, the crucial factor that can change the trajectory of an IPO is how the company’s brand positions it for success in the marketplace.

A brand is more than its logo, tagline, or other communication devices; it represents the perceptions and ideas associated with your company, both good and bad. When done with careful thought and strategy, a brand forges a compelling narrative that captures the essence of what makes a company unique, valuable, and, ultimately, investment-worthy.

In this article, we’ll cover four key reasons why a strong brand is a top priority during any IPO and how it strengthens your company's intrinsic value, ultimately setting up the new public entity for success. Along the way, we’ll discuss strategies for navigating an initial public offering using your brand as a guiding force.

Reason #1: Creating a Compelling Narrative

The primary objective of an IPO is to secure the best possible stock price and attract robust investor support. This starts with crafting a compelling narrative about the company. 

Investors, like all brand stakeholders, are drawn to stories. They invest not just in numbers and potential returns but also in organizations’ missions, visions, values and the people who drive them forward to generate value. 

Strong brands are backed by a brand story that communicates the genesis behind the company and how the brand’s values align with the organization's corporate strategy. This narrative should highlight what sets the company apart: technological innovation, market leadership or a unique business model.

Consistency here is key; a clear, cohesive story that aligns with what the company stands for will resonate more effectively with an audience of potential investors. Misalignment between IPO messaging and the company’s existing brand messaging can confuse stakeholders and diminish trust, ultimately diminishing the value of your brand and causing a misperception of what people can come to expect from your company.

That means the strategy behind your brand story should start well before your initial public offering. Investors and other stakeholders will be much more likely to be interested in your brand if it has an established brand narrative that aligns with your IPO branding. An IPO shouldn’t be the sole reason you have a brand story but an opportunity to communicate that brand to a larger audience to generate further value.

Reason #2: Brand Differentiation

Differentiation becomes paramount in a saturated marketplace where many companies constantly vie for attention. A well-defined brand helps a company stand out and can significantly determine the IPO’s success. 

Long before an IPO, a thorough brand analysis can identify strengths to leverage and weaknesses to address, ensuring that the branding not only reflects the company’s current status but also its future aspirations. You might have a strong, established brand, but in preparation for an IPO, it might be necessary to update or realign certain aspects of your brand messaging to align to drive your initial public offering.

As noted above, companies undergoing an IPO must involve not only financial experts but storytellers who can weave the brand’s unique elements into a narrative that appeals to a diverse investor base. This involves segmenting audiences with personas and journey mapping and tailoring the message to resonate with different types of investors. Understanding what drives varying investor decisions and customizing communications can significantly enhance appeal and engagement.

When your company undergoes an IPO, investors and analysts will measure your organization against countless other companies. Their goal will be to sort you into different categories depending on how you present your brand and mission and determine where you fall in comparison to your competitors. This is where your brand will serve as a bold signpost that declares where you stand within the marketplace and can help position your company in a category of your choosing rather than one attributed to you externally.

Reason #3: Gaining Internal Buy-in

As a whole, internal branding involves much more than just keeping teams informed about corporate strategies and tactics. It requires leadership to convince the team of the importance of the brand’s vision and gain their personal investment in making it happen. Employees actually implement your brand and bring it to life regularly; therefore, they need to understand why it’s worth growing.

Internal branding is equally important during an IPO. Employees are typically a company's first and most devout ambassadors, and they need to understand and believe in the IPO’s purpose. Aligning what the company promises externally and what it practices internally helps ensure consistency and authenticity, further strengthening your brand as an organization that executes its values.

Without any buy-in or personal investment, you run the risk of a disconnect between what your IPO messaging promises and what your team is truly providing. When there is a disconnect in alignment and investor expectations aren’t met, it damages the integrity of your brand. This can lead to long-term challenges in correcting any negative perception of your brand and its value, thus reducing long-term investor value and returns. 

Reason #4: IPO Day Communications

Leading up to an IPO, companies enter a 'quiet period' mandated by regulators, during which the amount of new information shared with potential investors is restricted. Planning your IPO branding and messaging strategy well ahead of time—ideally two to five years before the IPO—ensures that when this quiet period begins, your compliant brand narrative is able to speak for itself alongside your prospectus. This narrative continuity helps the organization maintain momentum and market interest even during restricted communication phases.

The actual IPO day is a focal point for showcasing the brand to a broader public. Everything from the design of the IPO prospectus to the information architecture on websites must be meticulously prepared to project a cohesive brand identity. Moreover, this day marks the beginning of a new chapter where the brand must continue to evolve and reinforce its message to keep the investor community engaged and supportive. Some of the other considerations to keep in mind before IPO day include:

  • A defined communication strategy
  • Investor relations information on websites
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) strategies
  • Clarified brand standards
  • Updated collateral to be shared

Beyond the IPO, the brand must support the company's transition into a public entity with a host of new compliance requirements to follow from the SEC and increased public scrutiny. The ongoing brand strategy should include continuous investor relations management, regular updates to the market, and a consistent storyline about the company’s growth and strategy execution.

Your brand will underpin all this information, driving the organization forward with a clear purpose and defined values. It provides a guidebook for your team when communicating with investors and acts as a signpost to communicate what your company stands for to new people approaching your organization for the first time.

A Few More Insights

Without a strong, differentiated brand, companies risk being lost in the noise, failing to capture the investors' imagination and ultimately achieving a lower-than-potential IPO valuation. A thoughtful brand strategy guides the launch of your company’s foray and allows investors to easily understand what you represent. Much like a stock valuation, your brand exists in the minds of your customers and represents a perceived value that people hold in your company. Controlling the narrative around that brand value is paramount to a successful IPO.

BrandExtract builds value by inspiring belief in people and organizations. If you’re looking to align your corporate strategy with a cohesive brand strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to a branding expert. For more insights into building a brand strategy that spurs success, explore these related articles: