Every management team cares about being noticed. Being invisible is not safe. Informing the marketplace of your presence is clearly a primary objective, especially is this inbound lead generation world.
But I’m talking about a higher calling than just lead generation. I’m talking about creating a remarkable business. A business that people feel urged to remark upon.
To build shareholder value, you need to build your brand. You need to tell your story in the market. You can’t suddenly do it for a few months. It needs a continuous, relentless effort to create that buzz. People need to feel good about their decision to buy your product. And the good news today is that you don’t need multi-million dollar marketing budgets, but you do need to be smart.
By operationalizing your brand building, it becomes effortless. As the owner of your business, you might want to raise money, sell a minority stake or execute a complete sale one day. One thing is for sure, you don’t want the value of your business to decline. There’s no downside to building shareholder value. I’ve summarized below some effective strategies we’ve been deploying with our clients over the last eight years that have worked.
- Awards: Look for opportunities to appear on award tables, Inc 500, software 500, industry awards, product design awards. The more prestigious the better. Awards that your peers vote for, can often be the best. It’s relative performance you’re looking for. You want to be an outstanding network company relative to other network companies. Nobody cares if a marketing agency is growing faster than a construction company!
- Content Production and Editorial Calendars: So easy to grasp the concept but a nightmare to achieve. The main reason? The people with the deep domain expertise are too busy and can’t necessarily write!
You need to find a way to break the problem into parts. Define smart subjects, decide the type of content, press release, case study, videos, articles, blogs and then use interviews to extract the necessary stories, as if you’d hired an investigative journalist. Lay it out as a publishing calendar and go publish remarkable content.
- Secret of compelling story telling: Write in the customer language. Talk about the customer’s world, their pressures, their customers, their issues, their obsessions and only then introduce yourself into the story.
- Trade Shows: Sure they are still great places to generate leads, but they are also a place to mingle with the competition, to keep your visibility high in the marketplace, to make speeches, to sponsor events and to create buzz around what you’re doing.
- Speaking Gigs: This will probably vary dramatically from sector to sector. But as a general rule, building a team of people who are pushing your manifesto in public at relevant events is a great thing. A little training will go along way to making it more enjoyable for the speaker and the audience. To stand out, consider no bullet points, only images on slides. Consider no slides. Consider joining panel sessions to demonstrate your unique approach to your industry.
- Trade associations. Join them and give back. Be a player in your own industry. Influence policy that makes sense. Relative peer recognition is a powerful tool in building shareholder value.
- Social Media: You’re right to be cynical about having a presence on LinkedIn as a company. However, talent you need to recruit are studying LinkedIn every day. If you’re driving an editorial calendar mentioned above then extending that to include relevant posting and sharing on social media networks is easy. Follow your customers and their customers on LinkedIn and Twitter and use filters like HootSuite to make sure you see their feeds.
- Meet Private Equity and Investment Banks: Look for occasional opportunities to meet with the key investors and advisors in your sector. You’ll be blown away by the strategic value you will gain and potentially the contacts that might be shared over time.
- Court journalists: Build relationships with strong business journalists in the main stream media as well as your technical trade press. Be the go to contact for them. Make it easy for them to get laconic, relevant insights.
You are either invisible or remarkable. There’s nothing else. The good news is that you get to choose.
The Portfolio Partnership offers operational expertise to scale your business organically or by acquisition. We continue transform visions into remarkable businesses. Read about our approach in our complimentary white paper – Valuation Gaps & How To Close Them.