With so many start-ups coming to fruition throughout the pandemic, now seemed an appropriate time to share our guide on working with PR agencies for the newcomers. Just a couple of weeks ago City A.M. reported on the real ‘winners’ of the pandemic, with a new tech start-up launched every half an hour over the past year.
Over the course of the year, many businesses moved to operating purely online and others like The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company pivoted to offer home delivery and at home services, while some entrepreneurs spotted a gap in the market and went for it.
Apart from the obvious winners – Dettol and Deliveroo, we’re looking at you – as everyone moved online at a rate never seen before or perhaps used that commuting time to work on their side hustle, entrepreneurs in the tech sector especially took the opportunity to launch their new start-up ideas and businesses literally overnight.
The article claims that “Between January and December 2020, 19,465 businesses were registered in the information and communication sector alone, according to data from Tech Nation. Equivalent to a new tech firm launching every half an hour last year.” The vast majority of new businesses were registered in the capital – equating to more than 100,000 new businesses across all sectors in London alone!
The team at Siren has a vast range of experience in assisting start-ups with communications plans for their new business. Be it getting launch ready, preparing for investment or navigating a new market with an existing product, it always comes down to raising awareness to drive sales.
It is unquestionably fantastic to see so many people launching a new businesses, sharing new ideas and creating new jobs. As communications professionals it’s a great opportunity to work with some fresh thinkers, people who are willing to take a chance and also work with a brand from the start ensuring comms always has a seat at the table.
From new restaurants, tour operators, fintech start-ups and even a dedicated swingers holiday for adults in Mexico – believe us when we say we’ve launched it all! Along the way we’ve picked up the following tricks to help support a start-up business with PR.
Most often (and sometimes in the case of a quick pandemic start-up, not), launch is a little way away… Do you have a website? Can a consumer buy the product/service? Do you have the fulfilment process working and is it robust? What about finding you online, have you looked at PPC and SEO? It’s key to have the basics in place before launch, even if it is a soft launch with a small objective. Doing the work now, aligning the brand and having a clear goal and a consistent comms approach, will save you plenty of work further down the line.
You’ll need to be comfortable with change (really, really comfortable). Unlike seasoned companies that have well-defined processes, procedures and hundreds of employees conditioned to repeat the same behaviours, start-ups are growing and changing and trailing new ideas and processes. It's dynamic and exciting and our role is often to help guide the management in the right direction when it comes to their media approach. It truly is a partnership and growing with a new business is a fantastic position to be in. We also provide some insight from a view that sits outside the business and can offer further ideas and opportunities that may be missed due to workloads surrounding a new launch.
All hands on deck
You have to be a team player, dive right in, roll up your sleeves and be willing to get your hands dirty—there’s an endless number of clichés for a reason. Start-ups are, by their nature, often small and whilst we truly pride ourselves on working with clients of all sizes - they have to be able to pay the bills. Consulting with an agency for consideration for project work, ad hoc support and advice can be a useful way to reap the benefits of working with an external PR team, while not having to stress about retained fees. It’s key to continually focus on the objectives and ensure all work from all parties is driving towards this common goal.
If any start up asks to ‘make them viral’ – this will make the PR team run for the hills. This is not a brief and often viral launches or campaigns go viral for all the wrong reasons.