Is Corporate Branding Key for an IPO?

For any corporation with plans to hit the markets with an IPO in 2005 or beyond, here are some key points.

Just as how your latest technology and other corporate assets are essential to develop great financials for a potential IPO, your corporate image and brand name recognition are equally important to get the word out in the marketplace. Both are critical for real success.

Google’s recent success with its IPO and the way its unique name played out is a clear case of a smart victory. Uniqueness and distinction make a clear path of communication starting from your headquarters all the way to the shareholders via the stock markets.

Unique Position, Clear Identity

A corporate brand with millions of dollars in advertising and promotional support is just a useless brand unless it has a unique position, and a clear name identity, strong enough to place the corporation aside from all the other copycats and look-alike, similarly named companies. If an IPO is supposed to be an offering designed to get the attention of investors, then it certainly requires all the necessary ingredients to achieve such a goal.

There are far too many IPOs that simply fizzle away as soon as the press and media blitz is gone. Normally this measured excitement only lasts a few days. The questions are why corporations do it and why they pay so dearly for such a poor response. If the game is to get the best attention and be a media darling, then obviously some rules must be followed. Here are some:

  • The Best IPO Name. It is absolutely critical to have a great name for the IPO. Very often, corporations convince themselves that they have the best corporate name. This notion is a result of a slow romance they force upon themselves with their strange and weird name, as they endlessly spend more and more money in hope of proving themselves right. Expensive blitzes simply prolong the agony, while the name, regardless of its origin and its history, hums along for a free ride.
  • For any IPO planning, a clear, distinct and powerful name is a prerequisite, and this process must be carried out well in advance of such an undertaking. Park the emotions outside the boardroom and ask some tough questions. How is the name structured and what messages are being emulated by this moniker?

    There are many ways to determine the power of a name, but all these require the proper execution of rules and regulations to measure it. Personal and subjective opinions and irrelevance are not the call of action. To begin with, acquiring a new name or changing it to fit a particular strategy is the easiest thing do; just do not confuse this with general branding motions.

  • The Best Corporate Image: Now it becomes absolutely critical to have a proper corporate image to fit your true corporate personality, and as name issues are solved, this process only becomes a logical extension. Often, corporations have their image diametrically opposed to the subtle message of the name, which might initially have been supposed to be saying something else, but is being read very differently by the market at large. This type of chaos in the communication message is what hurts the young IPO.
  • The creation of an IPO is a fine art. So is the creation of corporate names and corporate image. The more you understand the issues, the more successful you will be in your big ventures. Remember as you approach the stock markets, it is the STOCK symbols that you need to clear.

  • The Best Delivery of Message: All is useless, without a clear and distinct supporting message along with a system to reach the largest targeted audience. Today, cyber-branding plays a critical role: the perfect URL, the Web site and the navigation — the right content delivered at the right time and the right place to the correct person. Sounds so easy and simple. It is. Just follow the rules and get the proper cyber-branding in place with a solid URL, and the rest will unfold very nicely.

Lean Approach

In conclusion, all of the above does not require big-budget, big-blow-up advertising and branding. Rather, it calls for a smart and a lean approach to create a one-of-kind corporate name identity with a matching URL, which can all be achieved within a few weeks. Technology has changed the marketing landscape, and for IPO players, these new demands are only to improve their visibility in investors’ relations with much greater confidence.

Naseem Javed, author Naming for Power and alsoDomain Wars, is recognized as a world authority on global nameidentities and domain issues. Javed founded ABC Namebank, aconsultancy he established a quarter century ago, and conducts executiveworkshops on image and name identity issues. Contact him at [email protected].

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