When international human service provider APM Human Services, real estate investment manager Qualitas and olive oil producer Cobram Estate were planning Initial Public Offerings on the ASX, they turned to Melbourne-based branding agency Collier Creative to help tell a compelling story. JOSH NYMAN caught up with Creative Director and Partner Mark Reinheimer to find out more. 

Nestled 22 storeys above designer stores, hip hotels, exclusive jewellers and private clubs lining Melbourne’s Collins Street, Collier Creative’s 20-strong team of designers, finished artists and account managers is cracking on with a bundle of top-shelf SME branding and corporate communications work.

Collier Creative touts itself as an agency creating “experiences that deliver results”. And a quick run through its highly engaging website offers browsers enough of a visual and sensory experience to quantify this claim.

While first impressions from a website are important, that’s never enough for a company to rest its laurels on when it comes to reputation and delivering results.

Established in 1992, Collier Creative has developed into a multi-disciplined agency offering an array of services including brand strategy and visual identity, marketing campaigns and digital communications.

Its offerings have been utilised by clients from sectors spanning medical, tech and telcos, health, finance, government, not-for-profit, logistics, resources, property, research and retail.

Among its highest profile clients are online shopping giant Kogan, global mining and infrastructure solutions provider Orica, premium olive oil producer Cobram Estate and national traffic management operators Avada Group.

Let’s not forget global fintech disruptor Zip Co Limited, Australia’s largest poultry producer Ingham’s Group, automotive parts and equipment distributor Bapcor and youth apparel retailer Universal Store.

More recently, Collier has built a reputation as being one of the nation’s go-to creative agencies for small to mid-cap companies looking to IPO and list on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Last year the company eclipsed its previous records of assisting clients into and through their IPO phases during a period of extraordinary listing activity across Australia.

In part, Mark claims Collier’s standout year comes down to organisations understanding the value of branding and brand realignment strategies in preparation for a successful IPO.

“They are looking to evolve their business stories and brand positioning to meet emerging business opportunities, especially in energy transition services, decarbonisation technologies and renewable energy as well as fintech technologies and services,” Mark explains.

“During the past 18 months we have experienced significant growth in IPOs as quality companies pursue ASX listing.

“Last year was probably one of the strongest we’ve experienced in the 20 years we’ve been involved in the business. Pleasingly, most of these companies have become ongoing clients and we are now helping them with their inaugural annual reports and other corporate communication projects.

“There has been a clear pattern in companies needing quality corporate communications services including engaging reporting and investor presentation collateral, investor focused websites and ESG reporting materials.”

For Mark, who entered the business 20 years ago and has worked in the creative industry for 40 years, the company’s own growth is rooted in a foundation of delivering communications that help clients grow, enhance reputation, engage audiences and build value over the long term.

“Demand for quality business storytelling and informative content is being driven by a number of factors including constantly evolving corporate governance and continuous disclosure regulations,” he says.

“Investor demand for more open, transparent and informative information, especially around ESG matters, continues to fuel the need for the services and guidance Collier provides.”

And while the appetite for IPOs and listings has lost steam in the first half of 2022 compared to last year, it’s allowed Mark to pause and reflect on what companies can do to give themselves a creative edge and stand out from the crowd in a busy, albeit less so than 2021, marketplace.

“For companies with ambitions to list on the ASX, there are several key assets they need to have in place before the IPO process begins,” Mark explains.

“Firstly, having your corporate branding embedded and ready to drive through all the pre- and post-IPO collateral is critical. Corporate branding includes having a clearly differentiated positioning, investor value proposition and tone of voice defined and articulated.

“Once branding is established, key communications assets should be created. Communication assets – like a well-branded, engaging and user-friendly pre-IPO website (not just an underwhelming compliance-style site) that clearly articulates the investor proposition and offer – are a mandatory.

“Additional assets like an engaging investor presentation, not just another boring PowerPoint presentation, an impactful corporate video and investor fact sheets are also vital communications assets that should be in the toolkit.

“Finally, once all these elements are in place, the IPO prospectus document is created to present the offer to investors. The prospectus design will leverage branding assets created and together a suite of consistent, cohesive sales tools are ready to deploy.”

Mark says one of the most common oversights companies make is not planning and preparing branding elements and IPO communications tools before a formal IPO document is produced.

“There have been many times where, for example, a pre- and post-IPO website is designed and built at the last minute,” he says.

“Early planning and meticulous execution help make an IPO process run smoothly and mitigate any potential risk.

“Getting the house in order for an IPO, from a communications perspective, is one of the most important things a company can do to ensure every investor interaction is engaging.”

So, after a stellar 2021, what is Mark’s crystal ball read of IPO activity in Australia?

“Unfortunately, we’ve got some global issues and some local issues that will have an impact on the volume of prospectuses going through in 2022,” he says.

“We’ve got a war in Europe creating instability in the markets, while locally we have rising inflation, cost of living pressures and interest rates that look like they will steadily increase over coming months and years.

“The federal election has also led to some instability and reduced investor appetite, so overall I think we may be seeing a reduction of two thirds compared to the volumes we saw in 2021.”