Campaign: E2v emerges from obscurity via IPO push - Corporate PR

Campaign: IPO and profile-raising

Client: e2v technologies

PR teams: Fleishman-Hillard and Gavin Anderson

Timescale: March 2004-ongoing

Budget: £100,000

Hi-tech firm e2v technologies has won a clutch of awards for its components, which are found in a range of products including space telescopes and car alarms. But it had failed to generate media coverage outside of niche publications. The firm was created following an MBO from telecoms outfit Marconi two years ago and has a heritage that includes building radar systems along the British coast in World War Two. Ahead of a move to float the company, e2v hired Fleishman-Hillard and Gavin Anderson to boost its corporate profile.

Objectives

To raise e2v's corporate profile across national and international consumer and business media. To generate coverage for the firm's chief executive Keith Attwood.

Strategy and Plan

From March, the two agencies pitched stories, which had to conform to IPO rules, to trade and national media outlets. Activity stepped up in June when the announcement was made of an imminent IPO, with the float set for July.

Following the completion of the IPO, coverage was maintained by promoting a technology that e2v supplies for car alarms. Instead of using ultrasonic technologies, e2v's component is based on microwave technology that reduces the likelihood of false alerts caused by inclement weather.

A regional survey was then conducted into the nuisance of car alarms.

This survey revealed that 97 per cent of respondents wanted car alarms banned.

The team ensured senior management were put through rigorous media training and commissioned creative photography of people and products to boost coverage.

Measurement and Evaluation

A hundred pieces of coverage were achieved with 48 items devoted to the IPO in the national press, various trade titles and local media. In-house media evaluation found that 77 per cent of articles featured key messages, including that e2v works across various sectors such as medical and science, aerospace and defence, commercial and industrial.

Post-IPO coverage included 13 pieces about the car-alarm survey on BBC's London News, BBC Radio Essex and various local media.

Results

The Financial Times described e2v as the most successful IPO this year, and media coverage has gone from virtually zero to widespread national and international consumer and business presence. And while no share price range was published, shares initially sold for £1.55 and have since risen to £1.92.

Attwood was quoted extensively around the time of the IPO and has started to develop a profile as a spokesperson on national economic issues. A letter from the CEO about UK plc's attitude to the space industrywas printed in the FT this month.

The company picked up an award at The Manufacturing Awards and was a finalist alongside British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce in the Manufacturer of the Year category. It has also been shortlisted for a prize at the 2004 European Electronics Awards.

FT reporter Peter John says: 'Even though it was a very tough market, e2v managed to get listed at a good price despite being quite obscure.'

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