Recently, I’ve met several amazing start-up food and drink companies who have hatched interesting and original products, from innovation in teas, sauces and marinades, to healthy snacks and ethical spirits. This got me thinking about the following pointers every start-up needs to know about PR.
Timing Timing is king and deciding on the right time to invest in PR should be an important part of any start-up’s business planning. It can be tough to know the right moment, but often you will reach a pivotal point that will help you make this decision. It might be when you are on the cusp of a major retail listing (or when you need help securing this); when you are about to invest in new production technology; or just a gut feel that it’s time to take your brand from the kitchen table towards a more serious proposition.
Briefing Providing a good written brief to your agency will help ensure your PR activity is aligned with your goals. You wouldn’t ask a builder to build you a house and not tell him where you want the windows and doors, so be clear about what you want your PR campaign to deliver from the start. Remember to include specific areas where you want support, such as new listings or activities, details about your target audience and any new launches in the pipeline. An idea of budget will also ensure everyone is clear as to the scale and type of campaign you can afford.
Photography Good photography is important for PR success for two reasons. Firstly, the old adage that pictures speak a thousand words is never more relevant than in our increasingly busy world. A photograph and how it is styled can say so much about your company and what your brand stands for. Think of Yeo Valley dairy products and how they are always photographed in a farm or green field setting. Secondly, good photography will increase your chances of media attention and more or less essential now across all forms of social media.
Integrate PR is much more strategic than simply getting coverage. A good PR campaign will help you curate an image for your company, product, service or brand and establish a dialogue between you and your customers. Making sure your PR agency is aware of other marketing or sales activities you are undertaking (and vice versa) means that everyone is working together for your business.
Get the Most from Your Agency Viewing your relationship as a partnership and not just a service you are buying is important. Trust is a key factor and listening to advice on what will work and what won’t will save you time and money. Feedback is vital too – good and bad. When a relationship like this is in place, it will help your agency be enthusiastic about your business, fostering loyalty and a genuine desire to help you succeed and prosper.