The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the world. The start-up universe is particularly hit, because of smaller cash reserves owing to the overall impact on the economy and the restricted movement of people and goods. While businesses are adopting severe financial measures to stay afloat, a focussed communication strategy should be implemented to remain relevant once the pandemic ends.
Over the last year, we have established that an effective public relations strategy is as vital to the growth of a business as are our engineers who handle the backend programming for some of our biggest clients. When executed in tandem with other marketing strategies, it has the potential to bring about a long-lasting impact on the reputation, which holds significant value in the industry that we operate in. This truth has hit home even more so during this time. Here are some benefits we have seen because of the public relations program led by our partner – Genesis BCW Step Up – and how in these times, these benefits can have a longer-lasting impact.
Staying visible and relevant: One of the biggest reasons for going for public relations is to get visibility. The goal is not just to grow the audience and increase brand awareness, but also to shape public perception by establishing a strong network with traditional and new age media. As with any marketing strategy, ‘you never know which word travels where and gets heard by whom’. A good public relations strategy tries to ensure that every word reaches the right audience who can make the biggest impact. During the pandemic, this visibility also serves to imprint a longer-term perception in your target audience and demonstrate relevance, not just for today, but also in the post-COVID time.
Taking on the competition (direct and indirect): While every company faces competition, start-ups have an added challenge of competing with established cash-rich companies. With changing times, competitors are not just those selling the same product/service but also those addressing the same need. It always helps to have public relations professionals by your side telling your growth story and showcasing your unique consumer benefits to the world. Besides competing for customer attention, start-ups also have to compete for investor attention, which, during COVID, is an even tougher fight. A positive image in the media certainly works in favour of the start-up in this fight.
Attracting top talent: You are probably not hiring at this time. But when growth picks up again and you are looking for people again, how you did during the recession will certainly be something they will weigh you on. The fact is, while you need to pick the talent, the talent must pick you too. Whether it’s through social media or company ambassadors, PR uses the power of storytelling to communicate what it is like to work at the organization. Therefore, a positive word driven by public relations will help design a credible and authentic picture of the organization’s work culture, which will be more believable by the prospective employees.
Crisis management: Every organisation, start-up, or not, is walking a tight rope walk during this time. An infected employee, a negative comment, and/or move has the potential to jeopardize years of earned reputation. Therefore, crisis preparedness, crisis communications and leveraging relationships built through public relations can salvage the best out of a challenging situation.
Forging partnerships: You can’t do everything alone. You need partners to help you build a strong presence and a stronger voice. But why would anyone partner with you? Trust established through transparent and effective communication can help is foster relevant partnerships.
Budget-friendly: As with every household operating on a tight budget—even more so now—the ability to get the maximum value out for each rupee spent is what makes the difference. A good public relations partner understands the purpose to support a client in bringing maximize the value over the long run.
Till better times return, organisations, start-ups included, have to prioritise what they want to focus on right now. However, communication, led through an effective public relations program cannot just helpyou become visible in this pandemic situation, it will also lead to a stronger connect with all your stakeholders—customers, employees, partners, and others.
About the Author:
Jinal Shah is the Marketing and PR Manager for Blazeclan Technologies. She is an experienced communications professional with a demonstrated history of working in the Tech/SaaS industry since 2014. She spearheaded the rebranding project for Blazeclan 2.0 and Cloudlytics 3.0 and is responsible for all brand communication for the said brands.