Setting the stage for a New Generation of Leadership for a Private Equity Firm
When a leading private equity commercial real estate firm was transitioning leadership to the next generation the key was how to effectively make that transition. How can the new CEO be effective when investors have had little exposure to him? What’s the best way to position him for success to navigate the new office market challenges? Hertz Investment Group turned to THO to develop and implement a transition plan to solidify confidence in the new leadership.
As the owner/operator of more than 21 million SF of office properties located in 26 cities throughout the country, COVID had impacted the leading private equity commercial real estate firm. In addition, the original founder of the firm, who had been a powerhouse in the industry, passed away and the new leadership – the son of the original founder who was largely unknown to the industry – stepped in to steer the ship.
THO designed and implemented a strategic communications plan that would instill confidence in the new leadership and help the company navigate COVID as an office landlord as step one, which was followed by an on-going effort through an earned media and social media outreach to showcase the firm’s movement in the market.
THO developed a communications plan that would not only provide touchpoints for investors to the management team, it provided on-going informational pieces that were designed to provide pertinent information to the shareholders. All of these efforts were designed to build a bridge for the investors to the new management team, many of whom the investors were unfamiliar with. THO’s mission was to support the new phase of the company’s growth and help position the new CEO as a solid leader for the company.
- Step one: Design and implement an investor call, which was done via zoom, to create availability of the C-suite team to all investors. Presentation training, speech writing, program planning and technological support in terms of bringing in a technology team to make sure the on-screen movement, as well as the toggling of the camera to each speaker, worked flawlessly. The Q&As were handled through the chat, using the director of investor relations as the moderator.
- Step Two: revolved around the creation of a digital newsletter which carried content designed to keep the investors informed of company activities, any buildings that were bought/sold, new employees, and a letter from the chairman. Designed as a quarterly piece, it would keep the investors informed. Written in a positive, but realistic manner, it built credibility for the firm as well as its new CEO.
- Step Three: An ongoing earned media coupled with a social media strategy which highlighted company movement and included a ‘did you know’ campaign – that highlighted one of the unusual aspects of their properties, was implemented.
The C-suite, the CFO and the director of investor relations in particular received a dozen emails of support after the conclusion of the first-ever investor call. Comments included “solid management team is in place” and “great to see more communications coming from you” along with general support of the company and the new management team.
The newsletter launched following the company’s first shareholder’s meeting—another new “touch point” implemented by THO. Distributed to the database of over 300 shareholders, it achieved an open rate of 77%, indicating a high level of interest, in addition to a 35% click rate resulting from readers opening additional “read more” tabs.
The private equity firm’s LinkedIn page grew organically. It generated more than 40,000 post impressions throughout the year and garnered 500 new followers. This extended visibility was created through the use of dynamic content (e.g., videos, moving graphics, etc.) across the company’s LinkedIn portal.
Overall, THO has successfully grown the LinkedIn following metrics by over 35% each month since the program launch and increased post impressions by over 3,544% each month. In essence, the program solidified the firm’s position in the marketplace as it navigated the shift in the office environment across the country.