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insiderPR Special Dispatch: Five Reasons Smart Investors Utilise PR
The cost of fundraising is high. Capital remains concentrated in North America, Europe and Asia — home to 85% of the world’s institutional investors — while opportunity is emanating out of emerging markets. The average fundraising period for an African or Middle Eastern private equity or venture capital fund is over three years. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, funds and companies were spending an increasing amount of time and money to travel to and navigate a complex LP landscape — one increasingly defined by concern around impact and the investment process.
Now as fund managers and investors alike adapt to pandemic-related disruptions, fundraising cycles are even more prolonged and require more creativity and flexibility in defining a universe of potential investors and ultimately closing on a fund. We believe that strategic PR plays a significant role in supporting fundraising and accelerating relationship building with LPs. Investors simply cannot invest in things they cannot see.
We are already working with several leading African investment funds on their strategic communications, brand positioning, brand identity, reviewing their investment materials, doing cap intro and thought leadership. In doing so, we offer up five pieces of advice:
1. Creating clarity around your brand narrative
Investors focus on what they do best — adding value to portfolio companies and delivering returns to their limited partners. Often communicating why they invest, how they invest and the impact of their investments falls off the daily agenda. Yet, having a strong brand narrative is as important to investment funds as any other company. Companies and LPs should know what your fund is about beyond just its investment criteria. Where possible amplify the human interest aspects of your brand. People are interested in people.
Delineating these objectives, and mapping them to the business’s goals for fundraising, growth, or new market entry, provides clarity and helps to define the strategy. If the corporate goal is to attract talent, social media and media features can be leveraged to amplify the company’s values and culture, boost its reputation as a great place to work, and showcase its people. Similarly, a startup seeking corporate partnerships can raise its visibility to these partners through targeted messaging in op-eds, media mentions, speaking opportunities at events, and tailored social media strategies.
A startup’s PR objectives will help to identify audiences, decide key messages to prioritize, and determine the best channels to employ. Ultimately, the objectives also help to evaluate progress over time.
Even without a dedicated communications professional internally, funds can excel at PR. Working a PR firm that knows the markets and understands investment helps to allow investors to build a strong foundation for your brand through defining your purpose, vision and values and highlighting the success stories of putting those values in action.
2. Attracting Investment & Talent
A strong brand combined with thought leadership and a social media presence gives funds the visibility needed to attract top talent, get access to proprietary deals and secure LP interest. Thought leadership PR is demonstrated through media commentary, oped and blog posts, having a dynamic presence on social media, and speaking at the right events. It’s all about people, relationships, and credibility. We work with CIOs to write and pitch opinion pieces, promote them as expert media commentators, and keynote speakers or panellists for high-level events. When you are visible and credible, people want to work with and for you.
3. Showcasing Success
If you don’t demonstrate your successes in the right way, then your stakeholders won’t know about them. Increasingly, this needs to incorporate impact measurement. As reported in EMPEA’s Global Limited Partners Survey 2020, LPs and their key stakeholders are pushing for greater awareness of ESG considerations. Getting your good news out, whether this be via a traditional press release, media announcement or interview, raising awareness of wins is critical to the sustainability and growth of your fund. This approach also creates external ambassadors: those who are championing you when you’re not in the room, generating buzz to help you attract the right deals, and providing a filter for the types of approaches you are interested in.
4. Adding Value to your Portfolio Companies
By lending your communications and PR support to your portfolio companies, you provide significant additional value, helping them to grow and thrive, making your capital smarter. When early-stage start-ups are at the beginning of their journey, raising visibility of their work is key, but founders often don’t have the time or resources to support these activities. Savvy investors who provide PR support to their portfolio companies distinguish themselves in the marketplace, give their investments a stronger chance of success, and often achieve faster exits and higher returns.
5. Being Heard Whilst Others Are Silent
It is long understood that during any economic downturn, one of the first areas budgets are cut is that of PR. However, those brands which continue to invest in their external communications can go on to see growth when their competitors are silent. We recommend becoming more active with your PR. This instills confidence in your brand, projects an image of stability, and increases visibility whilst others slip from view. If you don’t have news to share, leverage your expertise and knowledge through thought leadership communications, sharing opinion on trends, experience, and impact.
If this has given you food for thought, and you are ready to explore how strategic PR can enhance and grow your investment fund, the team at insiderPR are here to help. Get in touch today to discuss ways that we can support your visibility and growth.
-Rebekah Clark (Director, insiderPR)
Do you have questions about public relations for your startup that you would like us to answer? Drop a comment or reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org!