Campaign: Sarantel wins investor support for flotation - Financial Comms

Campaign: Project Saturday

Client: Sarantel Group

PR team: Smithfield

Timescale: December 2004-March 2005

Budget: More than £20,000

Sarantel founder Oliver Leisten devoted his life to creating an omni-directional antenna, which would allow remote communication without antenna positioning. Upon its release, the product offered better reliability and efficiency to wireless devices. The company was incorporated in September 2000 and this year listed on the AIM. Smithfield was hired to boost Sarantel's profile.

Objectives

To publicise Sarantel in the media in the run-up to the flotation. To generate interest from investors.

Strategy and Plan

The company and its expansion had been covered previously by most of the business press, so Smithfield had to think up new angles of getting the firm back in the news.

As Sarantel's decision to float involved an initial period of consultation with banks and other financial institutions, Smithfield's first task was to create buzz within the business community. It decided on a three-pronged campaign that would target different investor groups.

Firstly, the campaign team targeted the Financial Times because of its prominence as the newspaper for large investors and the City. The paper was offered a story that was designed to coincide with Sarantel's consultation roadshow for institutions. The story was offered as an exclusive, while picture agency VisualMedia provided accompanying photos.

The second stage saw retail investors targeted through The Independent and Daily Express. Finally, trade press were approached to remind those who already knew of Sarantel that it was about to go public.

Although the regional press did not play a major part in the campaign, Sarantel - which is based in the Midlands - was covered in the Birmingham Post, for which Smithfield set up an interview with Leisten.

Measurement and Evaluation

Smithfield used Precise to analyse press coverage. As well as coverage in the FT, Sarantel was mentioned in The Independent, The Times, the Daily Express and the Birmingham Post.

There was also coverage of the flotation in Investors' Chronicle, Growth Company Investor and Electronics Weekly, which ran a feature.

Results

On the day of the flotation, Sarantel's shares rocketed by almost 40 per cent at the close of business, with 9.2 million shares traded on the first day.

Independent City and business news editor David Hellier says: 'What probably swung it for us was that the story was accompanied by an unusual picture.

'I'm always looking for something that looks a bit different, and if someone can come up with that, then it's great for us and the story.'

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