Private equity firms frequently use the statement “private equity is private for a reason” to justify their lack of transparency and public participation.
There are far too many private equity businesses in the US and the UK that have PR teams on call and are prepared to answer to any media inquiries with a straightforward “no comment.” We contend that using a communications agency in this manner is ineffective.
The private equity industry must rethink its approach to marketing and communications in the increasingly cutthroat world of private equity and, dare we say it, adopt “Communicate through words, pictures, and actions,” in order to raise money, find deals, and even attract the right human capital.
Our top six recommendations for efficient marketing and communication for private equity businesses are as follows:
1. Give journalists the time-consuming tour of the story (or non-story!)
Routinely declining to comment to the media rarely has the desired effect. Even while some private equity firms prefer to operate in the shadows, this can still be done by taking a more strategic stance when dealing with the media.
When a media inquiry comes in, an efficient press office—internal or outsourced to a PR firm—will make sure that time is spent talking with the media about the problems with a specific investment, giving them more context, and going over the facts. A narrative can be ended successfully, or at the very least the heat can be removed, improving your company’s position and the accuracy of the reporting.
2. Your principals should meet the important private equity correspondents.
You’ll have the chance to discuss your strategy to investing and track record in your industry by scheduling a face-to-face meeting with the media. In addition to building rapport with the journalists you encounter, doing this will ensure that you are better understood, which will show up in media coverage of your company’s investment activities.
3. Be renowned for your area of expertise and investment approach
The number of new players in the London private equity sector is booming. It’s crucial to convey your company’s expertise and competitive edge; what do you want to be known for? if you want to stand out from the crowd. What distinguishes your investing strategy from that of your rivals? Do you specialise in a certain industry?
A thoughtful message plan that identifies and articulates your company’s distinctive DNA is the foundation of an effective marketing and communications strategy. All of your communications, from media and investor relations to how you interact with the staff of the firms in your portfolio, should be consistent with this message.
4. Increase your news flow
Inform us of your activities, including any new business deals and the investment strategy you have adopted. This will boost your overall search engine optimization (SEO), enabling LPs to easily develop a picture of your company and its assets when they Google your name.
5. Through your portfolio company, tell your story.
It is up to you to tell the private equity story, which is frequently best done through your own portfolio firms. Use illustrative case studies and video material to give your website life. Allow the CEOs of the businesses in your portfolio to discuss the advantages of private equity ownership. In addition to improving your website’s SEO, using case studies and videos will help you manage as much of your Google first page, which functions as your online business brochure.
6. Manifest your skills and grow as a thinking leader.
Your greatest resource is your workforce. Positioning your principals as thought leaders will highlight their talent. Choose private equity issues that you can dominate and establish a reputation for within your peer group by scheduling regular principle speaker appearances at industry conferences, publishing your own analysis, white papers, and opinion pieces, and providing comments to the private equity media.
Need some promotional advice? If you want to understand more about how to make sure your marketing materials meet regulatory standards, please click here.
Download: Financial Promotion Guide
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