PR and Marketing considerations for entrepreneurs and start-ups
There are of course multiple in-depth and complex considerations when launching your own business venture, whether it is a sole enterprise or joint initiative. There will be numerous elements which will require extensive planning, research, management and budgeting, one of the cornerstones of your implementation plan should hinge around PR & Marketing – which will encompasses many operational strands. Here is some food for thought in that sphere if you haven’t already covered it all and are starting-up a new enterprise.
• Are you absolutely clear on your niche, and most importantly is there concrete evidence it is sustainable? This is the starting block for any savvy business, which is wisely backed-up by concrete research to support the investment theories. Having a truly unique selling point will underpin your whole initiative and shape all other aspects of your enterprise, including your communication and marketing plans. What makes you stand out against the crowd? What do you have to shout about? What sets you apart from others in the same market place? Why should customers choose you? Once your USP is water-tight and transparent you begin to weave persuasive messaging around that and up your innovative marketing ante to reinforce appropriately (in line with your resources).
• Take time to carefully develop your brand identity based upon your unique selling points. It's worth the investment. Again, what differentiates you from your competitors/market place noise? What are your strengths? How do you want consumers to think or feel about your brand? Your brand identity will feed into your logo/visuals, content, messaging, even the tone in which you speak to your customers so it really is critical. A holistic and strategic approach is fundamental. The visual and name alone can make or break brands – take your time to get is spot on.
• International presence – if you have a global presence, it may seem obvious but think through your business positioning meticulously, particularly initially from a brand perspective. Does the name work across different continents? Can you easily deduce what your business does regardless of language barriers? Is the appetite the same for your offering across continents? Have you tailored your marketing and communications strategy according to local markets? Are there varying environmental sensitivities you should be aware of?
• Understand behavioural insights – you need to fully comprehend why customers and buyers are interested in your products or services and then hone that offering to covert interest into sales and retention. Dig deep into the ‘why’ as opposed to solely the ‘what’. What motivates your customers? Why should they stay loyal to your brand? How do you want a particular product/service to resonate with them? The more you explore the nuances the greater the chance you will have a winning formula, after all some of the most successful brands today are very much built around experience and emotive responses. It’s critical to understand the dynamics of persuasion in relation to your business.
• Think carefully about how you are going to promote yourself – this may depend on budget but once you have completed your planning phase and have a very clear comprehension of your offering and who you are targeting mull over the ideal way to market your business. Even if you can afford advertising or a celebrity face don’t neglect the power of public relations - a paid for endorsement isn’t always more believable than ‘seeded’ content. Many of the most popular brands rely heavily on online channels. Identify some key opinion formers for your brand and work closely with these individuals. Get creative and don’t underestimate the punch social media can pack. Vloggers, Tweeters, Bloggers, other entrepreneurs, virals, product fans etc may all be able to help skyrocket your business. It's not just about what you are saying, but also critically how you are communication, including via which channel/medium.
• Community engagement – do you have a corporate and social responsibility offering? Some of the best exposure for your business might come about indirectly through the likes of CSR. This could be as straight-forward as offering an intern/graduate programme and contacting your local press, or working with a local charity. Did you know some local papers have greater readership than the nationals?
• Perception is your reality – take time to listen to real responses. What’s the feedback like post-launch? What are your customers raving about? What are the niggles? Paying attention to any trends or areas for improvement will keep your most important followers happy and strengthen your offering as you can attune accordingly.
• The customers are always right – it’s an old adage, but it’s important to not lose sight of the fact some people may rave about you and in the process incite their acquaintances to buy or use your service, but a negative customer experience also has the same powerful ripple effect.
• Your employees are some of your best ambassadors – as many business gurus have highlighted, looking after your employees will help ensure they look after your business. You want them to feel motivated and proud to be involved in your initiative which in turn will help boost your business. What are you doing to ensure employee satisfaction and commitment?
• Look around – what can you learn from other successful start-ups?