Why Startup PR Is Often Founder PR
At Heed PR, we’ve worked with many startups. We’ve also worked with numerous organizations that have scrapped sizable portions of their previous business models to replace them with something wholly new, therefore sharing much in common with startups.
Though startups and reborn companies are usually very excited to talk about their fresh products or services (or the way they’re delivering them), when considering media opportunities, it’s paramount to consider the person serving as the mouthpiece. If you’re at a startup or a company that is trying something new, that person should either be a founder or your CEO.
The reason for this is simple. People do business with people, and people relate to other people’s stories. Your product or service is great, I’m sure, but what gives it life is the person talking about it and how they tell its story. And, of course, audiences want to hear the message from the person at the pinnacle of the organization, as they are likely the ones spearheading efforts.
Think about the business origin stories that have resonated with you in the past. I’m going to bet those stories were tightly intertwined with the lives of the people responsible for having the “ah-ha” moments and turning those metaphorical lightbulbs into tangible things.
That’s why a great deal of startup PR can also be categorized as founder PR. When we think about Facebook, we think of Mark Zuckerberg. When we think about Tesla, we think of Elon Musk. Those are entrepreneurial titans, yes, but you could play that match-up game with countless other businesses, from the big guns all the way to regional successes you’re familiar with.
I say all that to say this: If you’re a founder at a startup, or if you’re the leader of a reborn organization, you need to show up and show out when media opportunities arise to discuss your business. Resist the urge to offload that responsibility to someone else. Again, these stories are best told from a first-person, first-hand, account.
Why did you start the business? Why did you come in and scrap what you inherited? How are you approaching problem-solving? What do you hope to accomplish?
Our friends at WorkHound, a startup serving supply chain leaders, do a great job of this. Co-founder and CEO Max Farrell has never been shy to share the origin story for the business that he and co-founder Andrew Kirpalani launched to facilitate feedback between truck drivers and fleet managers. He can tell the history of the business from the idea stage to where it is now in a compelling, first-person way that peer business leaders, prospects, funders, potential new hires, and media members can relate to.
I reiterate: This isn’t a must for startup leaders only. Dan Martin, CEO at Xpress Global Systems (XGS) has prioritized publicly discussing the substantial changes that he and his team have made since he became CEO at the company a short time ago. His influence is spurring a massively positive trajectory for the trucking company that specializes in the flooring space, and though he has a large team to successfully implement his vision, he is the person to discuss the what, why, and how of the new direction. It’s incredibly important for members of the media to hear directly from him, and when his voice (and often, his face) are a part of a news hit, customers, employees, and other trucking leaders take note.
If you’re reading this and you’re at the helm of a business, especially a startup or one that’s coming out of a substantial restructure, I know you’re busy and I 100 percent respect that. I do urge you, however, to proactively make time to be a part of your organization’s media opportunities. When you do, they’ll be infinitely more relatable, and they will resonate more deeply with your target audience. At this impasse, your business is you, and you need to be the one telling its story.
If you’d like a partner to help you find the right opportunities to share your story with the most beneficial audiences, shoot us a message.