Public Relations - The times they are a changing!!
Updated: Sep 20, 2020
The conventional monologue content has evolved to become a consumer engaging and interactive catalyst for growth of Startups.
Bob Dylan’s PR team must have been in frenzy when the legendary song writer and musician won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Dylan's image perception was built as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, both in the fraternity of music and culture. As a visible PR Trophy he is included in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century. The words that describe him are – a master poet, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation among many other epitaphs. Dylan has been generously rather ostentatiously covered in the who’s who of the media-world, be it electronic, print or online. Now, that’s a brand with a long legacy that still makes sense and has generations hooked on.
Just like Dylan, every startup is a brand in making, it begins small by taking the road less traveled. It fathoms acceptance and appreciation and leverages it to take shape as a favourite or a cult by bringing to use various tools among which content is the most critical. Content touched the Bob Dylan followers with the man and his music.
The startup is ever evolving and has an exhaustive journey to cover. Achieving each milestone is a story to tell and it is here, where content becomes the trigger to the brand’s image and positioning.
‘Content is the eternal King’
Content is the King is the mantra and sumptuous investment by the management in its creation and delivery mechanism is bound to yield successful returns. The correct application of content provides a competitive advantage and leads to a scalable and organic business growth. Content has a two way function for a Startup: Informing the potential customers and engaging with them. Aptly executed, they lead to establish brand distinction, infuse brand USPs and create a brand recall.
From routine story narration content has taken form of interactive creative campaigns, aspirational experiences, visual delights among others.
‘Know your audience’
We realise how content is used effectively to address the various stakeholders in the ecosystem. Content will play its magic when it addresses each stakeholder with customized and specific messaging. The dictum that is followed here is know the audience you have to communicate with. For a startup with limited resources a stringent strategy has to be devised that addresses the investors, customers, media, influencers, community, the government and so on. While an investor would be pacified to know the story on the startup scaling up, the customers can be warmly moved with, through a purposeful, relevant and realistic campaign.
‘Medium is the Message’
Communication and stakeholder outreach has become trickier. The winners are those who are the fastest to adapt to change and be present where their customers are.
Youtube has taken over DVDs or VCDs and Netflix is reigning supreme over the Cable Television. The media is changing. Marshal McLuhan’s, ‘Medium is the message’ holds more ground today than ever. Owing to an instant and demographic access to information, the audience of today is more evolved. They decide what to watch. They no longer sit in front of the television or sink into a newspaper or magazine. The target customer is spread more expansively than ever before. Offline and Online are the two spheres of media which have become ubiquitous and have its set of audience.
We can decipher and learn from a recent trend that is not infused by any brand but has sprung up organically. Owing to technology and internet availability wedding invitations have taken a total U-turn from the traditional cards to dedicated websites, social media pages, whatsapp invites. No wonder there will be a customised app for it in the time to come. The app may be further linked to social media, has chatting option for information sharing and probably a payment gateway for digital gifts. The e-cards have also popularized because they serve the purpose of remotely being able to send invitations with personal tweaks as requirement. (They say this is environment friendly too.)
‘When content becomes your Brand VOICE’
In the beginning while the product or service is yet to take off and budget for marketing is skewed, content is the means that start-ups have to utilise with full force. A strong messaging hitting every stakeholder category has to be created. This unified messaging goes out not only through the spokespeople but everyone in the organization across all levels. Not only does it build culture within an organization, it also goes out externally through an assortment of media, creating the correct brand positioning. A smart content strategy comprising the mantras of communication, plays a huge role in the brand’s search engine optimization, improving the search engine ranking and making it easier for the potential clients in the startup discovery.
The success is attained by measuring the effectiveness of the initiatives where customer response, feedback, can be measured more effectively than earlier. Twitter, Facebook have become instant brand connecters and work beyond complaint redressal systems.
The overall aim is towards, making content an eye and ear for the start-up - Listening and watching eagerly and carefully to hit a strike at every appropriate opportunity.
I am very sure that the clairvoyant Bob Dylan aptly wrote these lines foreseeing the
Startups and this is what they should live by, “Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it when you find it.”