I am constantly getting calls from CEOs of public companies whose stock has plummeted to the point of no rebound. When I ask them what promotional or investor relations strategies they have in place to support their per share price goal, there is always silence on the other end of the line. It’s shocking to me that a well pedigreed executive can move up through the corporate ranks from executive to VP and to CEO and not have a clue as to how to run a public company properly.
For executives reading this, you obviously are doing the necessary due diligence required to initiate a strategic plan and keep your volume trading. As a global strategies consultant, typically, by default, I have to take a company public in order for them to meet their growth requirements as designated by their board of directors.
If you are going public on the OTCBB (Over The Counter Bulletin Boards) for example, you’ll want to start general corporate branding pretty heavy when the S1 comments stage is completed. You’ll want to take advantage of viral media such as but not limited to: video, unique article submission, press releases, social and news bookmarking and don’t forget the Linkedin, Myspace, Facebook and Twitter. The collective combination of promotional genres in the above will give you the initial foundation to start your Investor Relations campaign post public.
Keep in mind you want to promote your company in a general fashion as opposed to stepping into a gray area which the SEC would consider outside of securities compliance. Next, about two weeks after your viral crusade has been initiated, phase two would be using traditional tactics for publicity, mainly TV, radio and inter industry periodicals. These promotional mediums should ring with the ‘expert’ theme. You’ll have your publicist solicit the editor, writer, journalist, etc and get you a seat on an expert panel to discuss the hot topics that have to do with your industry. It’s not a company advertisement, it’s better. You are demonstrating your high level of expertise and throughout the gig they are referring to you in name and as the CEO of XYZ Inc.
Now, after your market maker has filed form 211 and FINRA has issued a trading symbol, this is when the real work begins. Don’t hire an investor relations service, hire a full service IR strategies consultant. It may sound like the same thing but believe me, the difference is night and day. A strategist has a massive portfolio of contacts to create your market quick and get your stock trading. You don’t want pump and dump, email/newsletter promoters, if you hire one then you’re a chump and you deserve the failure that you’re sure to experience. You’ll be sucked into the black hole of no return faster than you can say pink sheets (By the way, if you’re going public don’t even waste your time with pink sheets. Serious investors will never buy and hold that Wild West stock).
The basic strategy your consultant will put in place will be a combination of phone room promotion to market makers and investors to announce your stock and give verbal presentations in a non pushy manner (with a phone room you just want to have a friendly voice that gives free information and then tell them to check out the stock and call their broker or you can introduce them to one but don’t hire a boiler room as that’s the kiss of death to any new public entity). Next you want to email announcements to your pre public investor base and industry insiders to get the hype machine going. Get people talking about your stock, potential acquisitions, your new product or service, a new strategic partner you’ve signed with, a new distribution channel, anything, just get them talking about you. You’ll also want to keep your viral and traditional publicity mechanisms in place. Write press releases announcing the above and have your consultant and/or publicist start pushing them to major journals, newspapers and high traffic blogs and websites and always make yourself available for comments and/or questions. With all of your promotional properties you must get in the habit of collecting email addresses and contact info and on a weekly basis a chunk of your advertising budget must go toward snail-mail post card promotion, phone call meet and greets and email updates.
The above is a very basic intro or Investor Relations 101 to help you start putting a strategy together or at the very least it will help you interview investor relations strategies consultants in an intelligent and informed manner.
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