One of the side affects of the Great Recession, was the number of new companies that Americans started. The number of startup companies is increasing at an incredible pace. According to Forbes, the top thing that startups need besides funding is a strong public relations program. A strong public relations program creates brand identity, attracts customers, helps recruit new talent, raises the morale of current investors, and often attracts new investors, or if the startup has no funding can attract venture capital.
A strong public relations campaign creates brand visibility and awareness. Your new company may produce the best product or service available but if nobody is aware of it, you have no customers and no sales. Public relations creates the brand awareness to attract customers. It is more than just a press release. Too many people think a press release is all that is needed to create brand awareness. A strong public relations campaign reaches out to reporters for stories about the startup, about the products and services offered, and gives the why this company standsout. These stories create consumer awareness. Also the stories get the new company in-front of investors if strategically places. For example if you have a great retail technology that can help the retail industry, a story on CNBC or a trade publication like Retailing Today can attract both customers and possibly investors. Quite frankly public relations allows a startup to articulate its story.
Mobile payment powerhouse, Square is an example of why public relations is essential for startups. Its success lies not only in the company’s incredible app and product, but also in its public relations campaign. Square’s product has been adopted by organic farmer’s markets, independent coffee shops, and Apple. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties have started using it as a way to accept donations at campaign rallies.
Over 75% of startup companies will fail. With that staggering statistic, startups must do anything possible to standout and reach their target audiences to ensure success. With more and more startups each year, this will become an even greater challenge. And the answer for startups is public relations. But don’t just take our word for it. Let’s ask Bill Gates, who famously said, before Microsoft was what it is today, that if he was down to his last dollar, he would immediately spend it on public relations.