Tilo Bonow about the importance of good PR for start-ups.
As a start-up, no matter how big or small your business idea, you have a chance, a unique chance many well settled brand managers would kill for: you can shape and determine your image. You start from zero on a blank canvas, no bad connections, no old logos or artwork you regret and no bad press out and about pushing you to justify anything.
So lets get to it: start and shape who you want to be from the beginning. You know your brand, you know your product and you know what you want to achieve with it. By setting things up correctly in your communication, you can achieve exactly as you wanted.
First chance: no one knows you – yet
Although you might think that being unknown is a bad thing, try to see it as follows: as long as no one knows who or what you are, they don’t have any expectations. Now, once you step out of the dark, you can tell your audience exactly what you think they should think about you. With an effective PR strategy you will even be able to further shape those thoughts through engaging with strategically important multipliers and even more so by reacting to any feedback you might get.
This is the point when good PR becomes even more important. You tried to get your message out correctly, engaged with multipliers and people start to talk about you. Customers come and buy, critical people start to find reasons why you shouldn’t be on the market and most important: journalists will tell people what to think about you. No matter how well you thought you phrased things – you need to get them published the way you wanted. Only few things will threaten your business in a way bad publicity would.
Listen, listen, listen – and react
So make sure to stay connected to the many conversations out there and more so: you need to shape these conversations. Part of your strategy should be to create occasions or opinions people could talk about in the first place. Successful PR will then reflect what has been said and constantly modify those things into a way they should be. However, keep in mind that things published – no matter when and where – will remain. Which brings us back to why it is so important for you as a start-up to engage in PR. As I said earlier, you start on a blank canvas. Fill it wisely, then start to add to it and keep it going. A mistake I have seen too many times is to expect the big journalists would write about you from day one. Most likely they wont, although you might even have the better story than your big brand name competitor. So keep engaging, keep giving them reasons to change their mind, to come ask for an opinion and to in the end mention you even before the establishment. Starting from scratch is your biggest asset, use it in a clever way and keep forming your work, in a communicational way, all the time based on a subtle strategy.
About the author
Tilo Bonow is founder of piabo () the leading agency of the digital economy. piâbo offers public relations (online, print, TV and radio), social media management and blogger relations. The agency, led by the founder since seven years, has since the beginning specialised on the branches internet&mobile as well as technology&media. This comprises ecommerce, communities, apps, soft- and hardware, cleantech and gadget topics. Amongts piâbos clients are innovative start-ups alongside with established, global brands of that sector. The agency also offers an international partner network. The striking 15 people team works hands-on, result focussed and on a high quality level. piâbo is partner of their clients for strategic consultancy as well as competent solutions.
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