By Julian Steinforth, Expedition PR
In many ways large companies and startups organizations have a different business culture, level of bureaucracy and organizational structure. They also have different pain points. While startups and small businesses are struggling with a limited budget and lack of in-house expertise, large organizations often have an abundance of resources but suffer from an absence of flexibility and innovation. Albeit resources are not the same, startups can adapt some nifty corporate PR and marketing practices that can work for them. Here are three winning communications practices that can lay the foundations for a successful communications strategy – even on a shoestring budget.
1.Base your brand communications on a simple, but powerful key message: You have to identify the value that you contribute to your customers and transfer it to a clear and simple message that all of your customers and other stakeholders, such as investors and partners, can understand and relate to. Do not communicate the whole facet of offers that you might have, because this leads to confusion on the customer’s side. A simple and appealing key message is the foundation to build a strong brand over time.
2.Combine traditional PR and social media marketing tools under one communications strategy umbrella: Develop a hybrid strategy that combines traditional PR and social media marketing tactics to communicate your message and engage with your audience. A social media presence today is a good starting point to have a direct dialogue with your stakeholders. Focus on a select social media channels, the ones that your key audience use the most. There is no need to be on all channels. Traditional PR tactics, such as media relations and events, will help create stories in the media that educate stakeholders about your company’s value proposition and industry relevance.
3. Dedicate time to build a long-term relationship with key stakeholders: Almost every large organization puts a lot of effort in building a long term relationship with their customers and spectrum of stakeholders, including employees, media, industry analysts, financial analysts, educational organizations, government organizations and partners, among others. It takes time to build and maintain a strong relationship with your key stakeholders, but it is time well invested. Dedicate team members to main relationship you’re your main stakeholders, including reporters, bloggers and analysts. For startups, it might be the same person, as teams are smaller than in large organizations, and that’s ok, and even makes it easier for both sides. In the beginning, company founders often like to take on that role and then realize that the time commitment will become to demanding. Our recommendation is to assign one team member, who is not the founder, to dedicate their time to maintaining and building these stakeholder relationships.
These best practices can put startups and small businesses on the right track to successfully engage with their stakeholders and put their organization on the map, just like the large industry players do.