Foreign Direct Investment

Competition for FDI is more intense than ever before. More and more countries, especially in emerging markets, are showing they are ‘open for business’.

This is unsurprising. FDI is a major catalyst for development, job creation, and economic growth.

How does your country rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report? Is your position improving or decreasing?

Do you sell your country’s investment case energetically to international media?

Is it obvious why you are a good investment destination compared to geographic peers?

Do you use case studies to illustrate FDI success stories?

Thoburns is expert at crafting FDI campaigns in regions as diverse as the Middle East to Central America.

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Fast Growing, Private Companies

As companies grow, their communications need to become more sophisticated. What is acceptable as a start up doesn’t pass muster when revenues have accelerated and you start to have a trading track record.

Investing in your reputation and telling your company story gives comfort to investors and will:

  • Increase your valuation
  • Reduce your borrowing costs; and
  • Ultimately – prepare for you an optimal exit
    (perhaps an IPO)

Imagine two identical companies:

Company A
has an informative website, easy-to-understand collateral, a video that tells its story and shows off its assets, an Annual Report/Review with clear financial detail and KPIs, a clear CSR strategy and positive press coverage.

Company B
has none of the above.

Who would you invest in? And which do you think will command a higher valuation?

Thoburns has helped many growing companies tell their stories, improve their reputations, make/save money, and sometimes list on a Stock Exchange.

Thoburns is also a member of ELITE Growth International – the London Stock Exchange’s community of advisors supporting ambitious, international growth companies.

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Leadership Communications

Leadership is difficult and the CEO role can be one of the loneliest and most isolated in a company.

A CEO admitting to self doubt and vulnerability is one of the last few taboo subjects in the business world and individuals in the top job can’t always share what keeps them awake at night with their Chairman, their management team or even external advisors.

The average CEO’s tenure is also now less than 5 years, making a CEO’s personal brand and reputation harder to establish than ever before, especially if inheriting a predecessor’s strategy.

Thoburns’ bespoke leadership programmes give CEOs counsel and confidence to complement their day-to-day roles, but also a personal identity and brand for the benefit of their wider career.

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Issues and Crisis Communications

Issues happen all the time to companies while crises are less frequent – but both affect your reputation. Do you know how to communicate to stop an issue becoming a crisis? Are you one of those companies who hopes “a crisis won’t happen to us”?

How you cope and communicate during a crisis will affect your long term reputation, your licence to operate and shareholder value. At worst, it can be an existential threat to your company.

The golden rule of crisis communications is to prepare in advance. You cannot construct a crisis strategy, once the crisis has begun.

Thoburns’ crisis team provides expert counsel, crisis preparedness plans, training and simulation exercises to help you face all your stakeholders, whatever your crisis or issues are.

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Cyber Security

There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those who don’t know they have been hacked” was a memorable quotation from John Chambers, former CEO of CISCO – the American technology conglomerate.

A 2018 PwC survey revealed that cyber security was no. 1 on the list of global investors’ concerns

The Economist Intelligence Unit opined that: “The greatest danger of cyber attacks is damage to the reputation of the firm with its customers.”

GDPR legislation in Europe means cyber breaches must now be reported within 72 hours

The message is clear: cyber risk is here to stay and it is now a boardroom issue.

The best resilience is preparation – including communications. How do you strike the balance between reassuring investors, but not making yourself a target?

Thoburns’ cyber team works seamlessly alongside senior management, IT experts and law firms to prepare clients for the threat of cyber breaches and to defend its clients’ reputations.

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Sustainability

Despite not being a new concept, Sustainability is rapidly increasing in importance in the global business world. In early 2018, three statements made the direction of travel very clear.

  • In what was described as a ‘watershed moment for Wall Street’, the CEO of BlackRock – the world’s largest asset manager – said:
  • “Companies need to contribute to society if they want to receive the support of BlackRock.”
  • Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund – one of the world’s largest at $1 trillion – said:
  • “Data on Sustainability influences our investment decisions. We want companies to move from words to numbers so we can better understand financial opportunities and risks.”
  • Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States, said:
  • “We are experiencing a Sustainability revolution that has the magnitude of the industrial revolution, but with the speed of the digital revolution.”
  • A good Sustainability reputation cannot be faked or bolted on. It has to be seen to come from the top of your organization and permeate everything you do – including your business model and your strategy.

No matter if you are a large multinational looking to improve your Sustainability reputation or a smaller company just starting your sustainability reporting and wanting to engage your staff – Thoburns’ Sustainability team and its award-winning film makers can help you tell your Sustainability story.

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Corporate Communications

As Warren Buffett famously put it: “We can afford to lose money, even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation, even a shred of reputation.”

To optimise and protect its reputation, a modern company has to present a compelling story, which resonates with diverse stakeholders, across all communications channels. This is all set in the context of a rapidly changing environment:

  • A 24/7 media scrutinising more than ever before;
  • Increased shareholder activism;
  • Brand values rising in importance, both to external audiences and employees; and
  • The need for corporate communications to complement Financial PR, Public Affairs and other disciplines.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy to tackle these challenges – but Thoburns has you covered – creativity and experience across all aspects of reputation management.

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Financial Communications

Whilst commercial performance sets the foundation for success, a company’s reputation ultimately shapes its valuation, its access to capital, and how it is perceived by all of its stakeholders.

Reputation is crucial in capital markets – independent research shows reputation contributes an average of 38% to market value, with some FTSE100 companies experiencing over 50%. But this reputation upside requires expert communication across all your stakeholders: investors, employees, customers, regulators, your supply chain and wider society.

You need to go beyond just the investment case. Are audiences convinced management is of high quality? Are you innovative? What values does your company represent? Can your forward guidance be trusted?

Private companies now face almost as much scrutiny as public companies, and can no longer hide either.

Thoburns’ team has over 25 years of financial communications experience across all sectors, from start-ups to FTSE100s, large and small IPOs and M&A, bond issues, crisis communications and activist campaigns.

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