Why should startups invest in image management

26th Aug 2015
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Today, disruptive technology is not just about innovation, but also about how your product or service is simplifying lives. That’s exactly what a startup does; it solves a problem by providing a solution that is convenient, as well as effectively connects with the masses.

Having said that, a NASSCOM study revealed that approximately 3,100 startups emerged in 2014. This number is guesstimated to reach more than 11,500 by 2020. This proves that the startup phenomenon isn’t just another passing trend or a bubble waiting to burst. It’s a revolution in itself and is expected to grow in conjunction with increasing demand for mobile, internet and web services. For a country such as India, with so much potential for startups to explore and expand untapped markets, this is just the tip of the iceberg. According to IAMAI, internet reach in tier-II and tier-III cities is expected to reach 280 million by 2018, provided initiatives such as the government’s National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) bear fruit on target. This, in turn, is literally going to change the business landscape, as well as consumption trends, in India.

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Looking at the numbers, and the speed at which startups are sprouting, we cannot afford to neglect things like awareness creation, keeping an eye on competition, and following market trends, if we want to ensure that startups are able to woo the right investors, as well as increase footfalls. Managing a brand’s image and ensuring perception management plays a significant role in deriving value for the brand.

Understanding the concept of a start up from a PR perspective

A startup is just like a ‘baby’ to its founders - which is why founders are called ‘parents’. And every parent wants their baby to not just grow, but also be recognized and celebrated. Every parent wants their baby to be appreciated by friends, family and society. Here, family is the employees of the company, and society is the market at large.

Creating the right Perception is a game changer when used effectively

Richard Branson right states, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”

One of Public Relations’s (or Image Management’s) most important roles is to improve a company’s reputation so that their store of goodwill is increased. Public Relations is that fundamental channel that curates successful business stories about the company. Public Relations is a process through which benefits, stories, and attributes associated with a specific entity are highlighted in various arenas.

With a good PR campaign in place, a company can really grow in the long run. While it may not bring immediate financial benefits, in the long run, it will increase your business.

Public Relations is more than a sales tool, it is also reputation management for startups

Public relations is not just a medium to obtain customers, but also one that helps provide the right amount of visibility for the products and services offered by the startup. It subsequently helps build the brand and image of a company or organization. It acts as a booster for the company and its employees’ morale.

It is therefore critical to invest not just money, but also time and effort into ensuring that the image management and perception-building campaigns achieve the desired results. Today, public relations is not just restricted to disseminating press releases or flooding the media with newsletters. Image management involves constantly engaging with the target audience through varied media, either offline in the form of face-to-face interactions, or tele-meetings - and through social networking platforms such as tweet chats, FaceTime etc., a method which is currently trending.

Image management is that powerful tool that can help make or break a brand.

“If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I'd spend it on PR,” Bill Gates.

In many situations, companies feel that they do not need to spend extra money on image management when they are doing well. Public Relations is absolutely critical to the success of your business, and slashing budget spends on marketing and PR is not a healthy way to look at growth in the long term. Also, one needs to understand that PR is a consistent effort in positioning, building and simultaneously managing the reputation of the brand, especially if you are a startup. There is no such thing as ‘temporary’ or ‘short-term’ PR.

In a nutshell, PR is an ongoing process that helps build and sustain a successful business model. Using PR can effectively help startups to deal better with anything that goes wrong. And no matter what you might believe at the moment, it will increase your sales in the long run.

The above article is written by Juhee Bagri – Entrepreneur / Image Consultant / PR Strategist / mom

Image credit "ShutterStock"

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