As a startup, you might consider working with a PR agency to promote your brand and accelerate your way to success. But what company information do you expose to them? Should they treat you in a particular way because you are a startup? Is it ok to let them lie about your business and make it look cooler than it really is because you are desperate for deals? Working with a PR agency is enough to create a brand or do you still have to attend business events to make connections?
In following interview you can find out what Valeria Tudor, PR Consultant at The House PR Agency, advises that you do. I met Valeria at a business networking event where she delivered a speech that caught my attention: she was self-assured and direct, saying reasonable and tough-love things, instead of the sweet talk that makes everybody happy.
Lavinia Netoi: What company information should a PR agency have access to so that they have all the details they need to promote the startup?
Valeria Tudor: Make sure that the team understands your business, your values and so on. You should share everything that might help in doing the right communication initiatives: market research reports, previous marketing campaigns data, close-up reports on events and the most recent monthly reports related to any communicational initiative. Before delivering all these documents, you should pay attention to the paperwork, as a confidentiality agreement might become handy sometimes. However, bear in mind that without assimilating the proper elements about one’s business, some cannot speak for it. As PR people, we need to carry/be a brand’s voice and we need to be prepared to do that.
Lavinia Netoi: Is there a specific PR approach for startups or does the PR agency follow the same process as with any other client?
Valeria Tudor: Start-ups represent a niche for communicators. They need to be nurtured in order to grow, so they need a special treatment. No mistake is permitted, therefore, an agency needs to know exactly how to create strategic content and where to place it. The brand should be powerfully linked to relevant publications and the influencers need to be hand-picked.
Lavinia Netoi: Many startups today go with the fake-it-till-you-make-it approach, thinking that nobody will consider them for business unless they are already cool. How do you feel about this situation?
Valeria Tudor: There are situations when sincerity wins. If you are a start-up, forget about trying to seem what you really aren’t. Tell your story as it is and stop simulating that you are a big corporation with downtown offices. People appreciate the real deal, instead of selling some perverted stories about your business. They can feel a true story! Work with your agency on this!
Lavinia Netoi: Let’s say a startup decides to work with a certain PR agency. Should they solely rely on the PR agency to push their brand or should they also go out there at conferences, networking events where they can meet people and make their company known?
Valeria Tudor: Forget about staying in the office and waiting for things to happen on their own! You should definitely try to grow a community around your business. It might become handy to have people in the market recommending you and your products/services. Build relations and make sure that you keep feeding them, as to keep people near you.