Building a communication strategy begins by understanding the organisation’s ecosystem, customers, and target audience. For startups, the challenge is building a compelling and credible narrative that frames the company’s innovation, the disruptive leap as well as engages customers meaningfully.
A communication strategy should begin with “Why are we doing these activities?”
The answers could be:
- To create awareness of our company amongst potential customers.
- To create demand for our products.
- To create awareness for fundraising.
- To create awareness to attract potential partners or collaborators.
Engaging with multiple audiences, it must be kept in mind that each audience requires its own messages, media, and messengers.
The message or messages – are often not what you as a company believes is more important, but what the audience needs to know, as well as what do you want them to do once they know. What’s the call to action?
In case of startups, the offering has to go beyond the product offering with a message that indicates the pain it addresses, the change it is creating in the ecosystem or the customer’s life.
The context within which the messaging happens plays a key role in it’s crafting. For instance, is it following a major announcement change in policy or technology; is it before an expected economic or natural crisis; is it following or preceding a boom or a slow period.
For startups with products or services that are aimed at creating change, the more the message resonates with the audience, the more it is remembered, the greater its impact, consequently greater the potential to create the change. For game changers, the company at times becomes more interesting than the product. A communication strategy combines the appropriate message- audience and medium for achieving different objectives.
Startups are often in a hurry to hire a PR agency. Hiring a PR agency or a PR Strategist is a great idea for any organisation as part of their communication strategy, as their experience and expertise adds value to challenging and critical business issues. Then again, for startups there is the question of ‘WHY? & WHEN?’
A PR agency at the early stage, should be in the role of advisors who work with the founders to clear issues such as who is the ecosystem? What is the context in which the organisation operates? The positioning? What is the communication needed for the entire value chain? i.e. understanding audience, message, media, and messenger. Communications advisors to the CEO can handhold them through the process of internal and external changes, using planned and strategic communication
As the startup reaches a point of inflection where it is ready to grow, a PR agency then adds value by bringing in both the depth and scale needed to roll out a communications strategy.
Building up a communication strategy is one of the pillars for building the foundation of an organisation – corporate or startups.