‘If I had one dollar left, I would spend it in PR’ -Bill Gates
Apple, Facebook, Google – Be it any big players in today’s market, none of them have reached the zenith of success in their career overnight. Every known brand whose reputation precedes the brand itself, be it Local, National or International, all have started from scratch and steadily climbed the stairs to victory. Companies that have just embarked on their professional journey, too, have the caliber to reach the pinnacle of their respective fields. Employing a PR strategy and investing in Public Relations from the beginning lays the groundwork for success for the start-ups and is the hidden ingredient that creates the perfect dish called, Reputation.
However, the misconceptions surrounding Public Relations have to be dispelled and outgrown first, so that companies consider investing in PR, without any stereotypes colouring their judgement. PR is not only about organising Diwali Parties or creating contacts, nor does it distort the truth that reaches the masses. The holistic nature of Public Relations has to be understood before engaging or investing in any Public Relations activities. When used correctly, Public Relations will successfully mobilise the target audience of the start-up and encourage them to use the products or services offered by the start-up company. In the next section, there is a detailed description of how investing in PR from the beginning will benefit start-up companies.
Create a Positive Brand Image
Creating a positive image of the company in the minds of the consumers is perhaps the most integral function of PR. Start-ups do not have an already established loyal customer base and they need to project themselves in a good light so as to attract customers. Public Relations tools such as press conferences, press releases, video news releases and press tours among others, help the start-up position themselves in the market. Proper media coverage through effective PR strategies not only helps to garner the attention of the audience but the positive brand image constructed also invites future investments.
Unique Selling Proposition
For any product or service, there is an array of options available in the market. What makes one start-up company different from others specialising in the same field? Why should the customers opt for one particular company in lieu of other similar brands?
This is where effective PR comes into play. When utilised properly, PR helps the start-up company to convey its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to the target audience. USP is the one feature of any product or service which is ‘unique’ to that company and makes it stand out amidst a plethora of other options. Awareness about a start-up’s USP is what will drive people and investors to engage with the company.
Build Community Relations
PR also holds social corporate responsibility, organising of events and gathering feedback within its periphery which will help the start-up connect better with the audience and interact with them on a somewhat personal level. These PR strategies will help the audience remember the company as one that takes into consideration the needs and desires of the community. Such a reputation will influence the buying behaviour (of products or services) of the customers and incline them towards the particular start-up.
Increase Credibility through Consistency
Consistent coverage of the start-up by various media channels, which will also be ensured by the Public Relations Team, will help build the credibility of the start-up. The society will always be skeptical when they come across a new company. But repeated coverage in media will imbibe trust in the customers regarding the start-up.
No company can escape from a crisis, be it natural or man-made. As a start-up, a company too has many chances of running into a crisis situation. During such trying times, it will be the PR officials who will deploy effective communication messages and other tools to handle the crisis and stabilize it before it blows out of proportion. Investing in Public Relations would ensure that the start-up has SOPs (standard operating procedures) regarding crisis management. Even, a lack of PR may also translate to a crisis nightmare with no plans on how to control it.
Thus, investing in Public Relations from the beginning will help the start-up company gain an overall growth and establish themselves as a known brand in the market. The investment made in this sector will give the start-up long term benefits in terms of higher return on investment and better brand value.