Start-ups should allow spokespersons beyond founders

Angie Schneider, partner and president APAC with Porter Novelli is responsible for business development, talent management and client service for. With Porter Novelli for nearly 15 years, Angie is one of the agency’s leading crisis communications and reputation management strategists.

Schneider has also acted as communications consultant to Yahoo co-founder, Jerry Yang.  PRmoment India caught up with Schneider during her visit to India for a discussion on talent, PR for start-ups and the benefits of hyper targeting.

PRmoment India: Does education really matter for PR, aren’t firms better off concentrating on in-house training programmes?

Angie Schneider: Overall it takes both-education and training. You have to have that background. Education is critical because it provides a basic level of understanding. For training there is a lot more to do. What helps talent is the greater ability to learn and keeping skills sharp.

PRmoment India: Is big data really effective in drawing up PR campaigns?

Angie Schneider: It’s effective. Big data has the ability to get you insights on a local level. For data insights to work, layers of context are required-without the context its of little use. Using big data you can really drill down and get information for hyper targeting. In New Zealand, an airline used data to find out the markets most likely to travel to New Zealand and used it to make very customized offers. This led to a rise in sales in a very short time.

PRmoment India: Do agencies have the time and resources to discover the kind of insights needed?  

Angie Schneider: That is a real challenge, a lot of staff time goes into it. What an agency is good at is the strategy. What you are going to see an upward trend in the next 12-18 months is agencies doing a lot of this, as real time adjustments to strategy are needed, every day, every hour.

PRmoment India: What advise would you offer to start-ups who want to build their brand beyond the founder’s image?

Angie Schneider: That is a very tricky balance. In most cases, the founder is the reason for the company. The idea is to broaden out the vision for more than a person. For VC funds its much more about bench strength than it was five years ago and this is something that should convince start-ups to open up spokespersons’ for the company. The VCs, the board of advisors, the CTO or the CMO can all become spokespersons and broaden the leadership.

Evernote is a company, for example, that has empowered employees at every level.

PRmoment India: What advise would you offer PR agencies to grow in the future?
Angie Schneider: The start up companies will challenge the PR world. Today it is all about short-term planning and long-term vision.

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