Richard Etchison February 22, 2018 | 05:12:22

How Good PR Builds Competitive Advantage For Startups

Gaining competitive advantage with PR programs comprised of media relations, reputation management, and content marketing can help a young tech company achieve prominence.

For an early-stage technology business, differentiation can be everything. Many operate in a crowded environment prone to fast changes and quick obsolescence. While solid business strategy and a good marketing plan are fundamental, a young company needs two things: positive visibility and credibility. They are linked but not the same.
Here are some ways PR builds competitive advantage for promising technology companies.

PR lets you play with the big boys

Emerging tech companies are often challenger brands. They need to highlight their differentiators in order to play in their chosen sandbox. Marketing is one piece of that – but there is no better way to do it than PR. A solid public relations strategy can bring all functions together with a single vision in accordance with the mission of the company. A consistent message is much easier to communicate, and it’s far more resonant.

PR means third-party validation

It’s always better to have someone else sing your praises than for you to sing them. The kind of organic visibility and the implied endorsement produced by earned media are fundamental outcomes of public relations best practices. Word of mouth is still king (even though the words now come from keyboards or smartphones). Earned media also produces higher ROI and higher conversion rates – and fortifies reputation.

Its credibility informs sales and marketing collateral

Whether you’re new or established, having a reservoir of sales and marketing content is essential to stay top-of-mind, build brand loyalty, and more. Not only can PR placements help as standalone sales and marketing collateral, they can also be used to populate or flesh out other pieces of collateral like newsletters, blog posts, and social media posts.

Your PR team offers 24/7 support

Good PR agencies/teams don’t just talk about your brand from 9 to 5. They talk about it constantly, during networking events with media and influencers, on Twitter, and more. It’s not enough to just pitch stories anymore. Smart PR means constant hard (story placement) and soft (informal) conversations. This cultivates more brand credibility long-term.

PR builds key relationships

Top PR teams do more than merely pitch media. They build long-term relationships that can pay dividends in many ways. A carefully cultivated journalist relationship will help a team navigate issues that can impact reputation — like poor reviews, customer complaints, or competitive challenges. Additionally, a savvy media relations program goes beyond valuable interactions with journalists and bloggers, but also with colleagues, influencers, clients, and competitors. Nurture a network of strategic allies and associates. Someday, you may need them.

Your story is compelling. The right campaign will tell it right.

A tech company’s origin story is a valuable commodity, so it’s critical to tell it well. Differentiation may not only come from a stellar new product, but also from its creator. Entrepreneurs rarely create groundbreaking new products just for money. They are often passionate advocates for some sort of change, whether it is a tiny life-improving device or a mission to affect society. Quality PR practitioners are expert storytellers. They know how, when, and to whom to tell your story in the most strategic way for building a competitive advantage over the competition.
PR creates brand attachment like Converse

PR creates brand advocates 

Good PR can help turn customers into brand ambassadors. People who wear Converse sneakers adore the brand. Apple’s customers love its products. But more than that, Apple customers love Apple – and everything it represents. This consumer attachment is the envy of all brands. A well-crafted, integrated PR/content marketing plan can create dialogue and engagement with clients and customers. Authentic interactions, entertaining content, and honest storytelling can capture hearts and minds in ways paid advertising cannot. The brand ambassadors will then tell your story, and this bears repeating –  it’s always better to have someone else sing your praises than for you to sing them.

PR keeps a finger on the pulse

Media and issues monitoring help you stay ahead of the proverbial curve. In today’s ever-changing news and cultural environment, it pays for an early-stage tech company to see what’s coming, what competitive factors and industry trends signify, and how to respond. Seasoned PR practices routinely monitor the media conversation in order to anticipate possible obstacles that might hinder a company’s long-term prospects. Technology firms can face crises ranging from regulatory issues to leadership changes. Monitoring the competition can also pay dividends. Being in the know helps a tech startup (or any company) get an edge on the competition.

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