You pick up the newspaper and it’s almost always flooded with some startup having raised a few crores from a large investor. While, some large national dailies have dedicated entire pages, the consumer today doesn’t care of how much funding a startup has or who the investor is. The consumer only cares about how great a service is and whether the company will fulfil its promise. The company looks for ways to convince the consumer that it is true to its commitment. It also looks to build a corporate reputation that generates interest from investors for further capital.
Enter PR, the backbone of building credible awareness for brands across decades. One of the large drivers that separate a brand and just another startup is the companies focus on PR and its successful execution.
Here are 5 things that every PR professional associated with a startup must keep in mind at all times:
1. Make Big Announcements Count
A company will have its big announcement moments but they will be few and far between and as a PR professional, it’s your job to make them count. Investments, Expansions, Acquisitions happen rarely in the lifetime of a company. Ensure, you make the most of them. Understand the announcement and devise your media strategy around it. For instance, an acquisition or an investment will appeal to the investor community but expansion to a new city has strong consumer appeal.
Big announcements have huge potential to grab eyeballs and influence stakeholder opinion about your company.
2. Partnerships are key
Collaborating with other companies on the marketing front allows a startup to expand its reach to a completely new consumer base. A hotel brand tying up with a mobile company allows both to reach out to each others loyal consumers. Such partnerships have proven to be strong pegs for media announcements.
Partnering larger brands help startups build a strong and credible perception around themselves.
3. Don’t Make False Claims
Very often startups are tempted to give out wrong numbers or set larger than life targets only to position themselves amongst the larger brand. This is a practice that you must always refrain from. It gives out a completely untrue picture about your brand. Once caught, something that happens in most cases, your brand will lose its credibility.
4. Be Innovative
Terms such as innovation are probably the most abused phrases in the history of PR. However, they bring definite value to your startup. With limited resources, creative ideation and execution can help you grab consumer attention and also appeal to other business stakeholders.
One word of caution, do not get too carried away. Many brands lean on sexuality, sexist humor and crass language to stand out. If done wrong, it will have a detrimental impact on your company.
5. In most cases, PR is marketing
Not all startups come with a multi-million-dollar funding. They cannot always afford large outdoor campaigns or TV commercials. An entrepreneur will look at a PR professional as a medium to appeal to both consumers and investors.
Always approach your campaign with the thought of garnering greatest impact for every penny and effort spent.
PR for startups is extremely exciting and rewarding. The basic rules of PR such as great content and industry understanding coupled with the ability to embrace change will help you and your company emerge as a successful brand.
Tanay Chaturvedi is head, marketing at WudStay, an online aggregator for standardized hotels.