One of the many things I like about Cincinnati is its entrepreneurial spirit and momentum in the startup industry. Since I work at a Cincinnati public relations company, I felt that it would be interesting to hear the questions and views startup owners have about PR. The “PR Primer: How public relations can help your startup sell” discussion at The Brandery was the perfect opportunity to begin listening in on the conversations startup owners are having.
Communications director of CincyTech, Carolyn Pione Micheli, lead a great discussion on an introduction to PR and how startups should approach it. It was interesting to hear not only the business ideas people had, but also their communications questions. One person’s startup dealt with a niche tax market. His question was about when to begin starting media outreach to let the public know about his company. The group then began discussing the downfalls of reaching out too soon. My question to him was a bit more specific. I asked him if his company had yet established its key messages and brand, to which he replied, “No.”
I’ve seen a similar situation happen with an established company as well. They had a great product, but they could not easily define the best aspects of their company or what set the product itself apart. This reminds me of common reasons people choose not to date someone. They say things like, “He’s a nice person, but he just doesn’t know who is yet,” or, “I want someone who knows who they are and what they can offer in life.” Just like an individual in a personal relationship, your company must have a clear identity to be attractive. You need to be able to clearly state what solution you have to offer that other companies do not. A tight, clear brand identity establishes credibility for your company as well as helps you identify and close in on your target audience.