During the earliest stages of a startup, there are many discussions and decisions about how a business will launch and with which bells and whistles to go to market. Marketing needs to be involved in these earliest stages; does public relations?
The very lawyerly answer is, it depends.
When you work with a hybrid public relations professional who brings 30 years of experience to a team, then public relations influences a startup’s business strategy. There is even counsel delivered by public relations that can influence business model. This expertise comes from years of innate knowledge acquired from representing clients across industries.
A public relations professional is a startup’s single-most critical member of the team, especially during pre-launch.
While marketing morphs the business, public relations stands in the wings absorbing the dynamics of company culture and adding expertise from the outside looking in. While executives are safely spinning their business model, public relations contributes external perspective from the vantage point of a variety of stakeholders.
- What will media ask; what will executives say?
- What would investors and boards of advisors want set up at the start point?
- Will consumers be able to understand why this company matters?
Startups Spend Time Inside
The formation of a company requires intense focus on the inside of a company. There’s so much more that happens beyond writing a mission statement or determining company values, structure and model.
What’s likely most confusing is the fact that public relations, in the presence of marketing, will not influence the inside of a company as much as it will influence how the company is positioned for external consumption.
Please read that again.
Therein lies the major differentiator among marketing and public relations – we who do the latter will always be listening for the language we need from marketing to describe and position a company for audiences who reside outside the company.
Throughout my career, I have influenced the business model of a startup. Because I bring such a breadth of experience across industries, it’s comfortable for me to share insights based on three decades of influencing results and driving measurable campaigns.
Ultimately, the best team for a startup is one where marketing and PR work hand in hand so all the expertise is conjoined with the same goal. Usually, that’s rare as the startup budget cannot afford a seasoned or deep team with these key players.
Would I to choose which professional to hire at the outset, it would be public relations – a seasoned, hybrid professional who has continually innovated and morphed alongside industry and technology.
PR And Marketing
Public relations is blending more with marketing than ever before; that’s nothing new, it’s been happening for years, yet now everyone is finally labeling what’s happening. Although the disciplines of marketing and public relations are blurring, there is still a major gap in understanding of how public relations delivers.
The logical progression for a startup is to hire marketing to morph its insides with branding, mission, vision, values, etc. When done, public relations enters from the wings during pre-launch. The positioning begins.
- Public relations rolls in with a message mapping process.
- Executives are trained to deliver strong messages to external audiences.
- The business model is tested with all the key audiences in mind.
- A strategy unfolds to announce the company’s existence with the differentiators in place.
- A media relations strategy is launched to announce to the market this company exists and is serious about earning a spot in the vertical market.
- Social media and blogs are launched to continuously push content.
- Public relations and marketing blend and work cohesively to execute strategy.
No Budget? Hire PR
What if a startup is working on a shoestring budget? There are seasoned public relations professionals who can bootstrap alongside a startup.
When a startup needs communications and marketing counsel, a public relations professional is the best hire at the outset. Someone who knows enough about technology, business, messaging, strategy, positioning, marketing blend, and much more.
Having the ability to write professionally is critical; adding someone to the team who is a professional blogger and media relations professional is smart for a startup.
To understand more about why PR is a better hire for startups than marketing,
contact Jayme Soulati at jayme at Soulati dot com. The hands-on experience is there.
You may dial 937-312-1363, as well.