Project Date: 2006 – 2008
Project Type: IPO Communications Planning
When American Water (NYSE: AWK) was spun off from German parent company RWE in 2006, the initial public offering (IPO) was one of the largest that year. But even though American Water was the largest and most prestigious water services company in the country and served over 15 million people in 35 states and parts of Canada, it was a little known name to investors and the brand was diluted and fractured across its 21 subsidiaries.
The IPO was the perfect opportunity to launch an entirely new brand, to further reposition the company as the industry leader and to help generate interest among potential investors. The event was a major undertaking because timing of the rebranding was tied to the day of the IPO which, as is the case with many IPOs, was a moving target. Direct contact with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was critical to ensure timing and amount of newly branded components followed regulations.
The SEC had given permission for the rebranding to occur only during the 24 hour IPO period. During that time, a 4,500-page website was launched, brochures were distributed, thousands of giveaways were handed out at more than 200 American Water locations nationwide and on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and a 100-foot American Water banner was stretched across the front of the NYSE building.
From the moment the morning bell rang until the evening cocktail party on the floor of the Exchange was over, it was American Water’s day in the spotlight. Our goals were to successfully launch a new brand and to give employees a day to remember.
The extensive and careful planning for the IPO was successful and yielded excitement for the newly launched American Water brand. Specifically, the launch included:
- NYSE celebrations
Morning bell ringing, giveaways on the floor, American Water flags and 100-foot banner on the façade, and an evening cocktail reception on the floor of the Exchange
- Internal celebrations
Live streaming of bell ringing, giveaways, parties, and new brochures at over 220 American Water locations across the country
Unveiling of the new corporate website as well as 21 individual state subsidiary sites stretching from coast to coast