The Importance of PR

When the numbers and overheads are all you fixate upon in the initial stage of your start-up business, engaging in public relations is – in all likelihood – the last thing on your mind. Scrambling to cover your costs and establish your business in your target market would be your preoccupation instead, but ironically, therein lies the value of an effective PR campaign. With the salience of social networks and word of mouth in today’s economy, PR’s role cannot be underestimated, as it is integral to building your brand and growing your nascent business.

Enhance your brand perception to recruit talent

Launching an effective PR campaign can play a key role in making a lasting impression on potential new hires and getting your brand talked about. For any business, achieving public awareness of your brand is as important for recruitment as it is for lead generation. Effective PR gets your brand’s name out there, gets people talking, and puts your brand in people’s minds and on the map – paving the way for an employer branding campaign. With PR, you can disseminate your brand’s message and values to like-minded talents and creatives and assemble an irrepressibly dedicated team, without breaking the bank on marketing and time-consuming road shows.

Attract investment

Press reviews make all the difference in attracting investors to give your start-up that providential initial boost. A media presence would not only allow your start-up to gain visibility to consumers, it also influences financial decisions – hence the deluge of finance and business media publications in the market. With an effective investor relations strategy and some luck, you might be the next to get millions of seed funding if you take the road less travelled and prioritise PR, unlike most start-ups.

Gain a media presence

Think you cannot join the ranks of those featured by Tier 1 media titles like CNN? It is time to transcend such preconceived notions, which are unhelpful at best and self-defeating at worst. Any start-up should reach out to a PR agency or consultancy before their competitors do, for this era of digital disruption means increased opportunities for all businesses. Forging a media footprint will secure prodigious worth in terms of consumer attention and awareness, outweighing the cost you will incur in establishing your company’s public image.

Increase your sales

Kill two birds with one stone when you allocate resources to media visibility – having press articles on your start-up will optimise your brand’s presence on search engines and drive your company’s growth. In the cut-throat world of start-ups, the one with more publicity and web traffic wins the race – so do not forgo the forest of yield for the sake of a lone tree that is reduced expenses in the short-term.

The underrated value of the personal touch

We have already gotten adjusted to the digital milieu of buzzwords like “B2B”, “B2C”, “digital marketing” and “web conferencing”. While technology eliminates the inconvenience of facing multiple human barriers and cost in terms of time lost to the tedium of traditional processes, the irreplaceable role of face-to-face, live communication and networking is often overlooked. Nothing can substitute the multi-sensorial experience of conversing in a café, engaging business associates and stakeholders in anecdotes and laughter while they savour the aroma of freshly-ground Americano. The positive vibes will generate greater client satisfaction and in turn, profit.

It is important for start-ups to incorporate phenomena like social media marketing into their business models and adapt to trans-border communication methods via Skype and similar platforms – without neglecting the embedding of the human element. A highly viable way of straddling the online and offline realms of interaction is webinars, which retain the vital dynamism of human conversation with startling realism. Accommodate your peripatetic clients and stakeholders by holding webinars at a suitable timing based on your respective time zones, and capitalise on the interactive and innovative qualities of webinars.

Despite being a recent trend that was not tapped on until a few years ago, webinars are already the preferred communication method by many corporates with a global presence. However, one has to be mindful of giving your audience sufficient time to prepare and do budgeting before participating in your webinar. It is also a good idea to have opt-in email invitations and a landing page offering a small preview of the event to incentivise attendees.

Of course, when cross-border communication is not a necessity in your company’s situation or stage of development, turn to the powerful tool that is PR to preserve the aura of human interaction and ignite the sparks required for your brand to take off.

Helena Ma brings with her a wealth of experience and a truly cosmopolitan perspective, having lived and worked in Shanghai, China; Gothenburg, Sweden; and London, UK. Her stints in Europe and China has armed Helena with a potent blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary Western knowledge which she incorporates into business management and client project