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Startup PR: What you should know in 2021
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Some disruptive and re-imaginative ideas for beginners
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Startup PR: What you should know in 2021

Some disruptive and re-imaginative ideas for beginners
  • The year 2020 was an unprecedented one. It has been particularly difficult for smaller agencies to survive with the big sharks.
  • Pooja Trehan, Co-Founder, PRPOI, shares a few tips for professionals who are planning to start Public Relation agencies in a volatile environment.
India and Singapore rank amongst the top 10 cities in Asia for best startups in various studies. Yes, you read that right! Media reports tell us that these two cities alone are home to 34 unicorns, and 52 soonicorns with a potential to become unicorns by 2022, the world’s second largest startup ecosystem is poised for disruption again. Home to over 40,000 startups, the city of Singapore houses six out of the 12 Southeast Asian unicorns. And is ranked #1 in Asia for innovation, and #8 globally.

Whilst you let these impressive numbers sink-in, one invariably starts to believe, the immense rise of PR agencies catering to the startup ecosystem for these Asian Tigers. And as the PR industry was just about making a dent in the industry, along came 2020 and turned the industry upside down.

And this led us to plan a panel with Jeremy Foo, Founder and CEO, Elliot & Co, Singapore and Kunal Kishore, Founder, Value360 Communications, India.

The panelists delved into the impact that 2020 bought upon the startup-ecosystem, making it critical for PR agencies to pivot their approach and ideas if they want to not just survive but thrive in 2021. The complexities of both the markets – Singapore and India – needed lots of tweaks to the rulebook with a quick adaptation of the constant changes.

Picking out some disruptive and re-imaginative ideas from the wonderful conversation with the panel.

Working closely with founders:

Educating founders about PR and how the process of storytelling works is a learning in itself. Founders are extremely passionate about every innovation they do, and sometimes this becomes very challenging, when one has to tell them that everything might not be exciting for media. The attachment that founders have sometimes becomes challenging to explain them to let go. But this is when professionalism of a communicator becomes the core of beginning any PR campaign. Startup is a closed community, so the ecosystem quickly refers great talent to other portfolio companies, which makes it easier for PR agencies to establish their foothold (that is if you have delivered well). Engaging with prominent faces in the world of startups, and joining the journey of building unicorns, helps to learn a lot and get insights into their leadership style.

Adept skills for a PR professional when servicing the Startup ecosystem:

One needs to begin with understanding the sector you work for, so as to apply an integrated approach. However, 2020 bought a paradigm shift, where one now has to visualise a holistic approach to communications, plan better conversations through PESO, stay ahead to identify and learn about new – age tools. Importantly, a communicator needs to evaluate the consumption pattern of content digitally and accordingly build relevant content for consumers. One will have to work on sensitivity in the current volatile market, considering audiences have more than enough platforms available to express themselves. Today, PR is beyond just delivering stories, Unicorns want to see the impact and ROI communication campaigns are building.

How pandemic has changed the Start Up PR industry now:

Being a PR agency for the startup ecosystem is now pretty mainstream now. The entire ecosystem has been evolving and witnessed many changes at micro level as well as social level. Infact, previously the larger firms overlooked the potential of startup brands, which the pandemic changed, bringing increased interest for the startup PR system. Last year also saw a lot of young entrepreneurs emerging out of the PR industry catering to the startup fraternity. Big firms are building small focused teams for the same. Previously, #techology and #financial turned out to be huge categories for startups, but now every sector will see technology sprouting a startup business.

Media advisory for brands beyond just funding news / pitch

Focus on the storytelling, if it’s a good story, it will attract enough attention. One needs to look beyond designing narratives around the fund-raising initiatives. The funding process is once in 18 or 24 months, beyond that in the startup world one has to drive communication basis a good assessment to pick from the pool of stories lying with clients. In a marketplace, there are huge possibilities of different stories, an opportunity to look at different types of audiences and explore different regions. Track how these marketplaces are expanding the micro entrepreneurs and that is one way for you to build a new conversation.

The above is by special arrangement via a collaboration with PRPOI

Watch the video here: