UTS Library

Cryosite - Creating Understanding

Client: 

Cryosite Limited

PR Company: 

Westbrook Financial Communications Pty Limited

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2003 E 3

Year: 

2003

Executive Summary: 

The Cryosite Limited IPO project is an example of how communications input can make a difference, giving a company a profile with its target markets and contributing to commercial success.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

When Cryosite contacted us it had been established only 12 months, was unknown publicly and yet was about to initiate a capital raising in advance of an ASX listing.

Cryosites business is to offer cryogenic (ultra low temperature) storage services, principally for umbilical cord blood stem cells and for biological material, with its client base being prospective parents and organisations involved in clinical trials.

Cryosite sought our communications advice to guide the process from private to public company and we devised a program to achieve the success factors necessary for any IPO.

Essentially our program was to establish the corporate story, launch the company with the finance media, broaden contact with the investment community, achieve general media coverage about the business and establish public company communications disciplines.

The budget to implement this program was not extensive but in line with Cryosites size and management needs and took the company from IPO to its first results announcement.

The outcomes from our program were substantial.

Most noteworthy was achieving extensive national finance media coverage, national radio coverage, trade media and TV coverage and utilisation of several Cryosite spokespersons in the process.

We also established the Cryosite corporate story in writing, communicated this to the investment community nationally and put in place an ongoing communications program.

Commercially the program contributed to an oversubscribed capital raising, a share premium on listing and ongoing sharemarket trading.

In todays competitive market, it is not easy for a small listed company to achieve any attention from the media and investment community, let alone a new and unknown business.

Our communications program not only overcame this substantial obstacle but was successful in Building Understanding Around a Start Up Business.

Independent acknowledgement of the success of the program is that, 18 months later, we still have a productive and valuable working relationship with our colleagues at Cryosite

Situation Analysis: 

Among the challenges in launching the Cryosite IPO communications program were:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


CHALLENGE


OUR INPUT


Start up


  • Cryosite was a start up business, with negligible revenue, established just 12 months prior to the IPO
  • The challenge was to convey the confidence of the directors of Cryosite in the business plan and the potential to build an annuity-like stream of revenue from a cryogenic storage business

Unusual business


  • Cryosite was <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Australias first commercial enterprise in the field of cryogenics
  • This presented the twin challenges of explaining the business fundamentals and also its likelihood of commercial success

Small company


  • Attracting investors to a small company IPO is always more challenging

Media bias


  • A media bias towards larger companies must be overcome to attract mainstream media attention

Retail investors


  • Company size dictated that Cryosite was a retail investment rather than an institutional stock, although one institution was interested at IPO stage

Multiple spokespersons


  • The board involved a number of people capable of, and interested in, the role of spokesperson
  • This necessitated diplomacy and management to spread opportunities and content across several spokespersons
  • The spokespersons involved the original entrepreneur, two eminent scientists and the chief executive, with each needing to be involved in the communications process

A new beginning


  • A start up business progressing to ASX listed company necessitates the introduction of communication disciplines and protocols

Stem cells


  •  It was critical to make a distinction between Cryosites non-controversial collection of adult stem cells from cord blood and controversial embryonic stem cells
  • The value of adult stem stems needed to be explained

Our IPO communications program for Cryosite met all these challenges and established a profile and sound communications footing for a new ASX listed company.

Research: 

Research we undertook to implement the program included:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

  • analysis of the Cryosite prospectus
  • website searches of comparable businesses in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />US and analysis of revenue growth and profitability
  • discussions with Cryosite executives around the business plan
  • analysis of research by Southern Cross Equities, the IPO underwriter
  • research into the different types of stem cells, how they are harvested and stored and benefits of cord blood stem cells, in particular
  • analysis of media coverage concerning stem cells and biotech companies followed by cross-referencing with media databases to discern appropriate media targets for briefings and distribution
  • analysis of  investment community databases to establish an appropriate distribution list and targets for individual briefings
  • creating an understanding of the distinction between controversial and non-controversial stem cells issues

Target Policies: 

Given our objectives above, our target audience comprised two parts.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Part 1 included:

  • finance and investment media, especially:
  • targets for attending prospectus launch media briefing
  • ­media nationally for information distribution
  • <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Melbourne media for post launch briefing
  • the investment community, principally retail brokers whose client bases would be attracted to a small company IPO like that of Cryosite

Part 2 included:

  • mainstream news and current affairs media to bring the story of stem cell storage to the attention of prospective parents
  •  industry media, especially companies in the biotechnology sector which would be prospective users of the Cryosite outsourced cryogenic storage service

Communication Strategy: 

The strategy we devised was in two stages.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The first stage was focussed on the financial media and investment community and the second on the broader media to assist the company achieve its financial objectives.

Part One finance media and investment community


OBJECTIVE


STRATEGY


LOGIC


Increase understanding of the business


1.    Establish an information base to generate investment interest in a start up business with the potential to build annuity-like revenue

2.    Incorporate gradations of information from comprehensive to brief summaries and key messages

3.    Demonstrate validity of the business plan, taking Cryosite from start up to commercial success


  • Develop a corporate story from the prospectus and research, perpetuating it in news releases, corporate profile, investment presentations and key messages for verbal presentation
  • Establish an information package providing the detail of a prospectus and succinct summaries in a news release and profile

Establish a finance media profile


1.    Establish finance media targets

2.    Implement a media briefing to launch the prospectus

3.    Wide distribution of media kit to finance media

4.    Follow up the news

5.    Coordinate any interstate Cryosite visits with media interviews


  • We assessed the story strong enough to  launch to the media nationally and attendance and coverage proved this to be correct
  • Blanket distribution of the news to national targets provided the platform for media coverage

Initiate ongoing media relationships


1.     Establish a media followers list from media briefing attendance and coverage obtained

2.     Keep up the news flow to foster personal relationships


  • Genuine news and company access builds relationships for the longer term
  • Relationships become crucial at first results announcement, particularly as the company announced a loss




OBJECTIVE


STRATEGY


LOGIC


Widen awareness of Cryosite and its prospectus in the investment community


1.    Review our investment community database of analysts and heads of research of stockbrokers nationally

2.    Establish brief information for easy dissemination

3.    Implement distribution process

4.    Advise on presentation content and investment community contacts


  • A corporate profile and news release fulfil information requirements of a stockbroker to initiate investor interest

Manage first results announcement


1.       Advise on communications to maintain investment confidence


  • ·Convey achievements to date for a start up business

Part Two broader media to raise awareness of the service


OBJECTIVE


STRATEGY


LOGIC


Widen media coverage to assist business objectives


1.    Broaden media targeting

2.    Use Cryosites scientific spokespersons and broader stem cells issues to link to Cryosite and  stem cells storage

3.    Utilise electronic mediums to tell the story effectively


·       Utilise topicality of stem cells and focus on Cryosites non-controversial adult stem cells

·       Capitalise on credibility of associated spokespersons

Implementation: 

This table outlines our implementation of the communications strategy, incorporating our methodology (i.e. what we actually did) and some reasoning around it<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


OBJECTIVE/

STRATEGY


METHODOLOGY/OUR INPUT


COMMENT


Increase investment understanding


1.    Information base


  • News release, incorporating news and background
  • Corporate profile, formatted as an independent company review
  • Subsequent news releases re prospectus close, ASX listing and results announcement

Documents bring together key elements of the corporate story

(included in appendix)


2.    Gradations of information


  •   Media/information kit incorporating prospectus and Cryosite marketing information as well as our summary documents, news release and profile

Audiences for financial information require a gradation of material, giving them access to the detail as well as the summaries


3.    Business plan


  • As a start up IPO, information documents had to explain the type of business and the grounding for its likely commercial success

Material incorporated in documents drafted


Finance media profile


1.    Targets


  • Establish targets in the following categories
  • launch attendees
  • biotech sector journalists likely to be interested in Cryosite
  • finance editors nationally likely to cover the story
  • interstate media followers

Primary target for an IPO is always the AFR

At this time the AFR had a regular 1/3 page column called IPO Watch and this was a priority

National media coverage is also important with an IPO




OBJECTIVE/

STRATEGY


METHODOLOGY/OUR INPUT


COMMENT


2.    Media briefing


  • Distribute invitation to likely journalists
  • Follow up invitations to establish attendance
  • Devise key messages to guide briefing
  • Input to Cryosite presentation to shape briefing
  • Brief Cryosite directors on how to mange media briefing
  • Manage briefing

The Media Briefing document in the Appendix outlines media briefing related contact and attendance

Also included is a Key Messages document

As the entire board of Cryosite and the marketing manager attended the media briefing, some counsel was needed to manage this multi-spokesperson event


3.    Distribution


  • Media kit in full (without news release) distributed to selected journalists the day before briefing
  • News release distributed nationally on day of briefing
  • Subsequent news releases plus stockbroker report

Key media targets received the full gradation of information


4.    Follow up


  • Follow up of journalists is critical to achieve further media coverage
  • It also establishes an opportunity to pass on developing news to boost coverage

Additional coverage achieved from the follow up process


5.    Interstate media


  • We arranged a phone interview with The Age on prospectus launch day
  • A follow up face-to-face interview was arranged during the prospectus open period

Other interstate coverage achieved from launch distribution


Media relationships


1.    Media followers


  • Outcomes from launch media contact were establishing followers at the main <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Sydney dailies, AAP, The Age, The West Australian and ABC Radio

These followers have remained interested in the Cryosite story


2.    News flow


  • Keeping these media followers, and the media more widely, informed about prospectus close and ASX listing increased the extent of coverage

Ongoing news distribution gives priority to followers




OBJECTIVE/

STRATEGY


METHODOLOGY/OUR INPUT


COMMENT


Investment community


1.    Database


  • Reviewed existing investment community databases to establish a Cryosite list, combining stockbroker heads of research and biotech analysts

A sound database adds value to likely IPO prospectus subscriptions


2.    Information


  • A corporate profile drafted to include the basic prospectus information stockbrokers require

Format of the profile reflects stockbroker review reports


3.    Distribution


  • News release and profile distributed to investment community database

Distribution alerted brokers to prospectus online


4.    Advice


  • Input to investment presentation content
  • Invited additional stockbroker contacts to underwriters presentation events
  • Arranged stockbroker support for Sun-Herald review
  • Draft Q&A for item on stockbrokers website

Broaden media coverage


1.    Targets


  • Targeted health reporters, radio talk programs nationally and news and current affairs
  • Also covered trade media

This assisted in attracting retail investors and increased interest in the service to meet financial milestones


2.    Spokespersons, stem cells


Results: 

Measurable results were:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

  • Widespread media coverage 100% hit rate in major metropolitan daily business sections (a brief selection of media clips and full list of all coverage for the period of the initial project is provided in the appendix)
  • additional industry media coverage
  • media coverage beyond the prospectus launch and ongoing
  • our own quality assessment of media coverage indicated a performance well above average with value added
  • ongoing media followers established
  • information on file with stockbrokers nationally
  • establishment of key messages and the corporate story, especially in the form of the corporate profile
  • a well attended media launch briefing
  • an oversubscribed prospectus on close
  • a share price on listing in excess of prospectus issue price (44 cents compared with issue price of 40 cents)
  • share trading activity beyond listing date

Evaluation: 

 

The table below evaluates outcomes in relation to objectives

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 


OBJECTIVE


OUTCOMES


EVALUATION


To increase understanding of the Cryosite business


  • Establishment of the corporate story from the prospectus in various forms
  • News releases that reinforced the corporate story
  • A brief corporate profile for the media and investment community
  • Distribution of Cryosite information to the media and investment community nationally
  • Preparation for dealing with the media through key messages which condensed the corporate story
  • Input to the investment presentation content to provide detail behind the corporate story

Our IPO program assisted to achieve understanding of the business of Cryosite, a fundamental pre-requisite for any investor in the prospectus issue of shares


To establish a finance media profile for Cryosite


  • Extensive finance media coverage nationally
  • Finance journalists with familiarity with the story in all key metropolitans

It is challenging for a small company to achieve finance media coverage and an ongoing following.

Achieving this for a start up IPO like Cryosite, is a significant feat


To initiate ongoing media relationships for Cryosite


  • Cryosite now has several journalists nationally who are well informed about the company and who follow its news flow
  • Results announcement coverage corresponding with IPO coverage

Many IPOs disappear without trace but Cryosite has achieved a level of media interest exceeding its size in the market.

This is principally because of the IPO groundwork and the establishment of ongoing media followers




OBJECTIVE


OUTCOMES


EVALUATION


Extend awareness of prospectus to the wider investment community


  • Information was distributed nationally to stockbrokers
  • Oversubscribed prospectus a direct outcome of a successful IPO campaign
  • Supported by a premium on listing and ongoing share trading afterwards

The story was reported nationally, garnering prospectus subscriber support and ongoing investor interest


Broaden media coverage to assist both prospectus and business objectives


  • Extensive ABC Radio coverage took the story to a large audience
  • Reports focussing on the scientific/health benefits lead directly to increased revenue
  • Industry media coverage, was important for the business plan
  • CNBC TV coverage had a dual financial and business advantage

Extensive general media coverage highlighted the high calibre of Cryosites directors and the nature of the companys business in cryogenic storage of stem cells.

The company experienced a direct correlation between media hits and increased service enquiries.

NOTE ON PROJECT TIMING

  • Our work with Cryosite began in February 2002
  • Our work is ongoing with Cryosite
  • This was an initial project which spanned from February to September 2002 and has led to an ongoing relationship
  • This project includes all activity from the preparation prior to the IPO announcement to Cryosites first results announcement as an ASX listed company