Munich, 1 February 2024 – Communicating on your own behalf sounds easy – but it’s not. The Munich-based communications agency PR-COM explains why start-ups in particular find it so difficult and what mistakes they should avoid.
The origin of many start-ups is a great idea, from which the founders often create fascinating products with great potential – but which can hardly be sold without publicity. There is therefore no way around targeted communication with the market.
This is not so easy for start-ups that are starting from scratch. The first steps often fail due to enthusiasm for their own product or self-absorption in their own technology, so that the young entrepreneurs do not even recognise the need for targeted communication: After all, a high-flying product practically sells itself, or so the misconception goes. This is not the case, and those who do without communication quickly disappear from the market. Start-ups often have to deal with these stumbling blocks:
- The product is not everything. A product doesn’t sell itself: Sales and communication are essential, and even the most enthusiastic founding team has to deal with unpleasant things like accounting and organisation at some point. In short, they have to create structures. Many start-ups flounder around because precisely these structures are lacking and communication with the market is not getting off the ground.
- Lack of experience. Young company founders in particular have little experience of how to communicate with the market. How could they? Without experience, many mistakes are made from which they have to learn slowly and painstakingly.
No manpower. Start-ups have to move a lot, but hardly have the manpower to do so: sounds like a dilemma? It is. In the end, the core team has to roll up their sleeves and manage several jobs at the same time, including that of head of communications. Motivation or not, mistakes and exhaustion can hardly be ruled out.
- No budgets. The solution to the problem would be to outsource tasks to agencies or consultants. But that costs money, which is usually not available. This means going back to the drawing board and completing all tasks yourself.
- Expectations are too high. Investing extensive resources in communication doesn’t mean that the market is going to take over overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this realisation also applies to PR, social media and marketing.
- Losing patience. As difficult as it may be for them, even the most restless start-ups need to exercise patience and not throw in the towel after the first disappointment. They need a lot of patience to build up a significant level of awareness, create an image or even form a brand.
Overcoming these stumbling blocks means taking one step at a time, building up communication work logically and organising it as efficiently as possible due to limited financial and human resources. The best way to do this is as follows:
- Define the goal, develop the strategy and messages. At the beginning, there are many questions that need to be answered: What are the strengths of the company or product? Who are my target groups? How do I build credibility as a newcomer? How do I want to position my young company against the big players on the market? What do I want to achieve in market communication? This forms the basis for the communication strategy and the individual messages that need to be conveyed consistently in all measures and campaigns, whether in PR, social media, marketing or any other content. This is the only way to give young companies an unmistakable face.
- Addressing the market in a targeted manner. It is at least as important to align the communication work with the target groups. They may have their own wording and consume different media; this is particularly important in PR: it can address numerous types of media in a very sophisticated way. In view of small budgets, many start-ups often spontaneously implement every measure that presents itself without thinking about whether it will really achieve anything: this is rarely efficient. So prioritise and sometimes consciously park or discard opportunities.
- Plan activities. Communication never works ad hoc, but only on an ongoing basis. Start-ups must therefore carve out time for this – and have an overview of all measures, ideally as part of comprehensive planning. In the beginning, this can be done in a simple spreadsheet and should include the following aspects: Measure, content, timing, person responsible, target group, type of communication, costs if applicable – and the results achieved.
- Remain credible. The market has a hard time forgiving untruths or provocations and remains cautious even with exaggerated product promises. There may be short-term gains as a result, but this type of communication is not effective in the long term, regardless of whether it is PR or marketing. Impetuous company founders in particular tend to exaggerate their enthusiasm for their own products. Restraint is called for here, and taking a neutral view of the market or media consumers is always helpful.
- Measure success. If you are short of resources, you should review your efficiency as often as possible. This includes measuring the success of your own measures: In PR, for example, the number and quality of publications, in social media the number of followers gained or the intensity of engagement, in advertising the number of new leads.
“Communications work is like building a house: you start with the basement and finish with the roof. What logic dictates, many companies do the other way round, and impatient start-ups in particular fall into this trap because they want to see results quickly,” explains PR-COM founder Alain Blaes. “The approach to communication is therefore: first the strategy, then the messaging and finally the implementation with all its facets.”
PR-COM in Munich is an expert in PR, social media and communications and focuses on the high-tech and IT industry in the B2B environment. Unconditionally high quality is the top priority for all 45 colleagues. As a result, our consultants inspire their clients with the success they achieve month after month in the media and the trust that makes collaboration so valuable. Our 9-strong editorial team impresses with its many years of IT expertise coupled with journalistic skills. Because we find nothing more boring than conventional communication, we always go the extra mile and put our heart and soul into working on new strategies and ideas for our 45 customers. We know: Behind every strong agency is a strong team. That’s why we do everything we can to ensure that our employees feel comfortable and can develop further. For us, standing still is not an option. More at www.pr-com.de