At The Social Deck we work with startups, not-for-profits and social enterprises to bring about positive social change by helping them implement creative and innovative social marketing and communication strategies. We’ve really enjoyed working with incredibly motivated clients who are completely passionate about their product, service or cause but one thing that has become obvious is that many organisations in their early stages are not investing in strategies for effective PR.
In this post, I want to share some of the tips and insights into the value of early-stage PR to an organisation.
When you have a great idea for a new product or service or when you’re putting your time and money into a cause, you want to know that people will get behind it.
No matter how good you think the idea is. It’s the initial engagement with your users, consumers or supporters that will build a community around your brand and support your enterprise from the beginning.
The same basic PR principles apply to engaging people in a cause as those for engaging consumers with a brand, product or service. That is, it’s all about THEM and not about you, or your brilliant new idea (sorry). Your PR communications must help people to personally invest in your idea, whether that happens to be a product that provides value to themselves or their family, or a cause that inspires them.
PR should be at the heart of every business strategy for an organisation, even in its infancy, and particularly where you have a product, service or cause that requires trust from the people and stakeholders you want to be engaging with. And one of the first PR principles is to invest in your community-building early. This will give you the best chance of developing a successful and sustainable business or non-profit.
PR covers a broad range of activities, but at the simplest level it’s anything your organisation is doing to communicate with your audience. Every day your organisation is already doing some form of PR. But is it effective?
Although most people already understand the intrinsic value of PR, they are also aware that it can be resource and time intensive, and when outsourced, can be expensive. But, one important question that organisations don’t tend to ask enough is – what sort of PR do I really need? For example:
- Startups and SME’s can use PR to build their reputation and credibility even before a product or service goes to market. Early support from your potential customer base may also lead to increased investment opportunities.
- Social Enterprises can leverage PR to build a supporter base around their cause (and may also be able to use crowdfunding platforms etc) which will then flow on to the product or service they are selling.
- Not-for-Profits need to engage with partners, influencers and individuals from the very start to build support for their cause or campaign. A NFP needs to rely heavily on the emotional connection that can only be achieved by creating a personal relationship with the target audience.
But how do you decide what PR you need right now, and ensure your hard fought early funding is being spent in the right place? Continue reading