By Marta Debski
2021 was a record-breaking year for IPOs—PwC even went so far as to say it was “the biggest IPO year ever.” Last year, Offleash delivered IPO strategy, services, and support to clients on the journey to going public, including UserTesting, Inc. (NYSE: USER). In addition to supporting IPO communications for UserTesting leading up to the event, I was also able to join the human insight company on-site at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on listing day.
There are many things to consider when on the road to IPO, and a company’s debut on the stock market is the culmination of it all. So, after a year and a half of virtual everything, there was a lot to take in—in person—while on the trading floor.
As we enter the third year of the pandemic, and as the world starts to open up again, here are four tips to keep in mind if your team finds itself standing in the Financial District when your client’s shares start trading:
- Expect the unexpected. Hey—it’s listing day! Where is the fun in everything going as planned? If you’re still conducting virtual interviews, work with the team at the exchange to have a telephone line available and at the ready, should the connection falter or—gasp!—go down. Grab the direct lines of the reporters you’re meeting with that day so you can get a hold of them quickly should your CEO or CFO be detained at the time of your scheduled briefing. And be sure to bake in extra travel time between the hotel, Times Square, the exchange, and any other locations for the day. It’s also good to be aware of your public transit options if traffic is bad or ride shares/taxis are unavailable. Anything can happen—so have a good backup plan.
- Be agile. Media briefings are scheduled and rescheduled on the fly, on different floors throughout the building; your CEO and/or CFO need to be in three different places at the same time; you’re inside for ceremonies and you’re outside for pictures; you have to track down the appropriate in-demand people for immediate reporter fact checks. Things move very quickly on listing day, and all teams must work together with the stock exchange for a seamless and beautiful orchestration. Invest in a good pair of flat, supportive, and solid footwear…you’ll thank me when the market closes.
- Engage the network. Teamwork makes the dream work. One team, one dream. All in. When it comes to such an important company milestone, don’t be afraid to engage with the media team at the exchange to help secure interviews with the influential markets reporters. They work with these reporters day in and day out and can call on their relationships to help get your spokesperson screen time on the big day. Work smarter, not harder—and work together to get your CEO their dream hit.
- Feel the feelings. Listing day happens fast and furious and, as Ferris Bueller so expertly said, “if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” You and your team have spent years leading up to this day, and what a day it is! Take pictures, shed tears, and, if you’re comfortable, give hugs. Take a pause to revel in the hard work that brought you to this moment, to understand the enormity of the experience, and to simply take in how cool it is to stand on the trading floor amongst partners, colleagues, and friends and watch the company you represent ring the closing bell. And if you want to take a video to capture a moment forever, remember to actually press the record button—I wish I had.
Offleash has supported several client IPOs over the last few years, and the last two were banner years for our agency’s IPO communications. Even though the IPO market has cooled since “The Year of the IPO,” and the world is still finding its footing when it comes to in-person events, nothing compares to being in the room and on the floor for this milestone. If you have the opportunity to join your team in New York for listing day, I highly recommend taking part. And, for an added bonus, you might have a reason to buy yourself a new pair of shoes.
Marta oversees account operations and develops strategy for and executes on PR programs such as corporate announcements, customer advocacy, event planning, speaking and awards – with a focus on content creation and media relations. Contact Marta here