By Theresa Masnik, Account Director, Healthcare
Lately, I’ve heard from more and more companies in the healthcare, biotech and life sciences space that a top goal is raising capital. Getting in front of the investor audience to help drive fundraising is a corporate communications priority for many clients in our Tech and Consumer practices, too.
These companies immediately think they need investor relations — and we do advise building an investor relations function and program the moment a company considers going public.
However, for private businesses not at the point of considering an IPO, a fine-tuned PR program can also create buzz in investor circles, drive interest and confidence for fundraising and help boost valuation and deal size. So how do you set up PR to attract investors? Especially amid tough market conditions (whether that be economic downturns or overcrowded spaces).
Build a growth & category transformation narrative
Whether presenting at a conference, developing content, or speaking with a reporter, a company’s underlying narrative and corporate communications should be consistent. The story, though, needs be tailored to specific audiences. For investors (unlike for customers), it’s all about growth potential.
PWC’s Capital Markets Advisory leader IDs this how tough this narrative can be to develop: “one area where I see companies consistently challenged is with their equity story.” He lays out some of the story fundamentals, which are similar for both raising capital and attracting investors once public:
- “Addressable market
- Growth drivers
- Company strategy
- Financial projections
- Deep talent bench”
We use a similar set of parameters to build the investor narrative. We also like to include valuation, once strong enough, and how a company is changing the game and challenging the status quo in its category. This is especially helpful in noisy, saturated markets.
Demonstrate momentum with media relations
Sure, a company can position its growth story on its website, but would-be investors may never find it and the hype just won’t be there. Earned media plays a key role in putting that growth story in the publications investors read, validating it and building excitement/urgency for investing.
Proactive storylines should focus on key moments in corporate growth and momentum. They should offer evidence of how the company is disrupting or positioned to be a leader in the market — customer wins, new leadership hires, position in major industry news. Through media interviews, the leadership team proves out the vision of the company and relays the long-term value it’s delivering. This type of storytelling is even more important during downturns, where strategic pivots or ability to deliver on the vision are extra appealing.
Expand the spokesperson bench
Investors want to see a deep leadership bench capable of executing on a company’s potential. That’s why it’s important to build profiles around multiple executives — beyond the CEO. For a tech company, it could be the CFO weighing in on industry market/investment trends or how she or he has structured the company for growth. For a healthcare company, this could take shape as a thought leadership campaign for the chief scientific office (CSO) on the scientific goals and interests of the company, or the chief medical officer (CMO) as the voice for all things healthcare, especially new data or clinical trial updates.
Profile-building should span highly targeted media publications, contributed and thought leadership content, industry associations and speaking engagements at relevant business conferences (think: J.P Morgan’s annual Healthcare or Technology, Media and Communications Conferences) as well as targeted industry events such as HIMSS or RSAC’s* Innovation Sandbox Contest. These events can provide meaningful exposure among customers, partners and investors.
Backing from investors who believe in a company’s mission and will help it reach full growth potential is so vital to most businesses. In downturns, when capital isn’t as free flowing, companies have to work harder to win the business company and investors over. These are just three (of many) ways to use corporate communications and PR to do it.
*a SHIFT client
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