Working with high-growth technology companiesB2B, consumer, corporateLondon and Paris, Berlin – I am based in Berlin20 people and growingSale of French company Musiwave to Openwave for 100+ million eurosEntry of Facebook and Pinterestinto FranceClients include: Pinterest,Evernote, Flipboard, Zendesk, SendGrid, Techcrunch Disrupt Berlin,Eventbrite,HotelTonightStripe, GP Bullhound,Seatwave, SumUp Rubicon Project, Unruly Media, Infectious Media
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Some facets of corporate reputation come readily to mind: the quality of your products and services.How you respond to a crisis. If you’re a listed company, your results and your share price. Interactions with your customers or, if you’re a VC or angel investor, interactions with your LPs and portfolio companies,All of these factors contribute to the shaping of your corporate reputationBecause PR is about public opinionYou may not think that it’s crucial today, or in the next few months, but it will be one day. When you most need it. And if you haven’t built it, nurtured it, guarded it, then when you most need it, it won’t be there.
PR is more than media relations: it means reaching influencers, your customers, prospects, and even your competitors to get good word-of-mouth that drives sales and increases valuationIt’s about ensuring you are represented accurately and positively in media and on social networks. It’s about ensuring you have consistent messaging. It’s about ensuring you are considered an industry leader (eventually) by peers in the industry through comment opportunities in the media and speaking opportunitiesPress releases PitchingKey messagesPress kits/collateralsMedia trainingOpinion piecesMedia toursMarket analyst relations (Gartner, etc.)Speaker placement at conferencesAwards
And I want to clarify something: we don’t have special relationships with the media so that they cover our clients, we have to earn our clients media attention by understanding what is news, or how what our clients are doing fit into the news agendaThis involves a understanding of what they do but also where the company needs to go, which is why we insist on direct line to the top-level managementMusiwaveSumUp
Why is so PR powerful?We love telling them, we love hearing them.We more easily digest things when they are framed in stories. Facts are great, but they rarely move uson a gut level
Who?Often have a Chief Communications Officer
If you run a company, or are a part of its management team, it’s youA strong corporate reputation is important for so many reasons:People want to associate and buy from companies they trust. If you have a strong reputation, you have a better chance of charging a premium for your products, even in price-sensitive times.If you have a strong reputation, you have a better chance of withstanding negative events – and of earning repeat business that eventually turns into the lifelong loyalty associated with the most-respected brands.
But that reputation has to be earned, and it is earned over time, both through your performance and your behaviour. My advice is to start early. The CEO and top-level management, partners – you all need to be involved. That doesn’t mean that as a CEO, you need to do everything yourself, but you do need a public profile of some kind. You will not have the credibility you need if you only start communicating when things are going particularly well, or particularly poorly. LakestarBehave with honesty, transparency, authenticity and integrity. Invite, rather than command. To show humility, rather than claim world domination. Be real, rather than claiming to be ‘really excited’ at every minor product announcement.
American company that does emailservicesThe incident started when Richards complained about two guys behind her at PyCon who made sexually charged jokes about "big dongles." Richards also tweeted a photo:.After the photo circulated and Richards complained to the event's organizers, one of the men was fired by employer PlayHaven.On Thursday afternoon, SendGrid's website was down and reports indicated it was a victim of a DDOS attack. Richards' blog, meanwhile, was also experiencing service issues, but that may have been caused by heavy traffic to the site.
I spend a lot of time advising startups not to use a PR agency, which is pretty funny considering I run a PR agency. At this stage, you & your founders are the best PR -- us LI and FB, Tweet, ask clever questions on Quora, use Pinterest, SnapChat, Vine if appropriate. Create a community. Get to know who your Twitter followers are, see who follows you & your company, see who they follow, get involved. Find out where else your followers are present on the social web, learn more about them, see where else you can engage them, etc., which is exactly what you should be doing.Get these first 1000 users deeply involved, and get involved with them -- it's the best investment you can make. Another reason not to hire a PR firm is that when you are in a very raw beta, the last thing you want is media attention, b/c you will only get one shot with the media at this stage. If your site is buggy, you'll get a bad review. And everybody will know it.Save the PRfirm for very specialized projects when you are up & running smoothly, and start after your Series A or so.
Focus on basics.
I’m going to change your perception about what PR is
PR not for everybody – some people want to know exactly what coverage they are going to get, we cannot guarantee it. Deliverables, sure. If you are a SN company & LI announced it’s IPO the same day you had an announcement, you will likely get little coverage – the SN agenda will be ruled by LI that day (and for several days to come)If you can’t handle this uncertainty, PR is not for you.
Everybody thinks their startup is the best EVER, just like everybody thinks their baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. Thus, they think that everything they do is newsworthy. But let’s think objectively about this.Reporters want scoops – they answer to their editors & to their readers
To approach the media, you have to take a long hard objective look at yourself, see where your company and your news fits in
Look on line, see some of our PRs, use them as a templateNote market differences in grammar, punctuation, tone: US vs UK, France, Germany, etc.
This is an oldie but a goodie
Don’t be afraid to mention competition! They validate you and help people understand what you do, what space you are in, and why you they should care. Saying you have no competition means either you are stupid or you selected a space that no one thinks is worthwhile.
Don’t worry about entering to win!These are great to meet investors. But don’t become a perpetual competitor -- 3 is about the limit.Want to talk about which ones to enter? Let’s discuss how to decide – Seedcamp, Pioneers, LW, TNW, TC Disrupt, etc.
Conferences are awkward situations. You know that you need to make the most of your time there – chances are that you paid not only the entrance fee, but also for the flight and the hotel. But why do we fail to make meaningful connections at conferences? Because we often forget the perspective of the very people we are trying to connect with.Conferences are excellent opportunities to further your business goals, be it funding, partnerships, sales, an article, or an invitation to speak. So have these clearly in mind when approaching each person. Know what you need to get from that conversation, and realize that you’re likely not going to get funding, close the sale, etc., right there. But you can get yourself further down the line with an invitation to connect later about that very topic.
Colette Ballou presentation at TechChill Baltics
PR For Start-Ups
Colette Ballou, Ballou PR
February 13th 2014
Done right, PR is a huge part of your
• It is what people say about you whether in a newspaper, on
a blog, on Twitter or to a colleague at an event like this one
• It is about good word-of-mouth that supports sales and
• Your reputation is everything, and a good name can be
damaged in a few keystrokes. Looking after your reputation