Managing shareholders’ expectations through any significant corporate change can prove a delicate balancing act, even in the best of circumstances. Keeping them consistent while your organization rebrands can feel more like walking a tightrope.
For Wrocław, Poland-based LiveChat Software, a small-cap online customer service provider, being transparent was crucial, says Marcin Droba, the company’s head of IR.
LiveChat made its debut on the Polish stock exchange in 2014. At the time, the company entered the market with a valuation of $160 mn. Since then, it has made great strides and today is worth around $860 mn.
‘We are now part of the mid-cap index on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, often referred to as the Big 40,’ Droba tells IR Magazine. ‘We have almost every important Polish institution as a shareholder.’ He acknowledges, however, that the company remains a micro-cap in foreign markets such as the US.
Signs for change
As part of its growth strategy and to cement its position in the fast-changing software world, LiveChat is in the process of rebranding as Text.
The firm’s IR team highlights factors such as company growth, changes in shareholder structure and the boom in artificial intelligence (AI) tools as the main drivers behind its new identity. But how is it keeping shareholders engaged during this process?
Being transparent around the reasons for the rebranding, keeping existing shareholders in the loop with changes as they happen, leveraging multiple communication channels and building a bulletproof IR website is the way to go, Droba notes.
‘In the last three years, a significant portion of our shares has moved from Polish financial institutions to foreign shareholders,’ he says. ‘When we consider our strategy, this is an extremely important factor to consider, and we need to incorporate that duality into our strategy.’
Łucja Kaseja, LiveChat’s IR manager, says that over the past two years the company has attracted an increasing number of US and European investors. These two regions now account for 30 percent of the company’s public float, marking a 10 percent increase on 2021.
‘In terms of our customer base, 98 percent of our business is global, and Polish customers represent only 2 percent of our revenues,’ she notes.
For the firm, Text as a new name is more in line with the company’s focus on text communication and text intelligence, and represents a refocused corporate direction.
‘We have four very well-known products but, currently, they are stand-alone,’ says Kaseja. ‘We wanted to create more of a package, something that puts together all those services we currently offer.’
When it came to communicating changes to existing shareholders, Droba stresses that responsiveness is key during a phase of change.
‘You need to show you are engaged and very responsive,’ he says. ‘This is something we do for our customers as a company and we try to replicate that approach as an IR team. Think of your investors as customers who need information and want to have a good experience by getting quality information quickly.’
Droba claims LiveChat is one of the very few companies using its own AI-powered company tool on the IR website. Its purpose is to simplify and ensure quick communication between investors and the IR team.
‘It’s about having a very close connection with your investors,’ says Kaseja. ‘When investors are looking for information and they are struggling to find it, they can just use the tool and they will get their answer.’
Other than that, it is crucial to ‘look at your website from an investor’s perspective,’ says Droba. ‘Think about what you would like to see and what you would look for in a company IR website.’
Kaseja says the two most important things to be easily found on your IR website are the investor calendar and the latest company presentation. She adds that if companies do not use AI-powered tools such as LiveChat, they should at least provide an IR contact in the form of a phone number or email address.