From startup to sensation: Harnessing the power of communication in fast-growing companies
Startups are hot and they're also the cool kids on the block, and everyone wants to be a part of their action. The speed at which both the mainstream businesses and startup landscape is evolving, keeping the momentum going and ensuring that your company remains the 'talk of the town' is crucial. That is exactly where strategically planned communications and public relations (PR) play the role in shaping the reputation and credibility of your company, particularly if you are at a growing stage.
Fast-growing companies, often referred to as startups or scale-ups, are businesses that experience rapid expansion in terms of revenue, customer base, and market presence within a relatively short period. Their growth trajectory is characterised by exponential gains rather than a linear progression. This meteoric rise is fueled by innovation, disruption, and the ability to identify and address untapped market needs. Unlike traditional businesses, fast-growing companies thrive on agility, adaptability, and a keen understanding of their target audience.
Some of the common challenges that most of these companies face can include struggles with scalability and resources, hiring the right talent, changing customer expectations and needs, market saturation and competition, local regulations, media scrutiny, and a lot of communication overload.
Central to the success of such companies is their adept use of strategic communications and PR which specifically includes communicating accordingly with its stakeholders, including customers, investors, and the media. To engage with various stakeholders, such companies invest in recognising the power of storytelling, brand identity, and engaging content to capture the attention of their audience, and additionally differentiate themselves from the competition.
Effective communication helps create a compelling narrative around the company's mission, value, and offerings, fostering a sense of connection with customers. PR efforts amplify this narrative by securing media coverage and industry recognition, further elevating the company's visibility and credibility.
This can be done in the following ways:
Everyone loves to connect with a compelling narrative crafted to engage, and the single most powerful strategy of every business is to inform, and sell while connecting emotionally, that's what keeps these businesses on top of their stakeholders' minds
Segmenting your audience
While you could be the best storyteller in town if it is not targeting your stakeholder, it is an effort in vain. Successful startups understand early on that there are diverse groups invested in their company, from investors and customers to employees and industry peers. These businesses tailor the communication strategies to address the specific interests and concerns of each group, and sometimes in different channels knowing where each stakeholder lives.
Media relations mastery
Forging relationships with key media outlets and industry influencers is one of the key steps that startups need to adopt from the very beginning. The successful ones don't wait for the media to approach them. Rather they proactively share newsworthy developments, product launches, and success stories to garner media coverage. Positive media attention not only boosts brand visibility but also enhances credibility and trust.
Another key step for fast-growing companies is to be ready to address unexpected challenges. While we hope no major crisis hits the business, it is realistic to be prepared for how you plan to address if one does hit, and more importantly in what tone you address it.
Your communications and public relations efforts should be consistent across all communication channels. This means using the same messaging, tone, and visuals. When your communications are consistent, it builds trust with your target audience.
Understandably, companies want to move on to the 'next thing', but steps such as measuring results regularly are important to adapting accordingly as well to improve your efforts and also be cohesive to the market dynamics.
Another measure often forgotten is having a system for managing your communications and public relations efforts. This helps you stay on top of deadlines, track your progress, and measure your results.
And while following all these measures, being patient but agile as you build a brand is very vital, remember, building a brand does not happen overnight, and similarly, the success of your communications and PR strategy will also show in time and on channels you probably did not even anticipate.
With the power of strategic, targeted communications, fast-growing companies have the potential to transform industries and captivate markets. The potential of transparent and consistent communication cannot be overstated; it nurtures a sense of purpose, creates a shared vision, and fuels collective efforts.
Even as you navigate through challenges related to scalability, resource constraints, and increased expectations, it is your communications and PR that will help you keep things together. This is where you need to remember that your audience will support you no matter what when they connect with you emotionally, when they relate to the story you built for them, and when you build it around them. And while you build your story, remember to let the story be told through your stakeholders as well, that's how you know your communications and PR team has done its job.
Sanjida Tanny currently leads the Communications department at Wagely, a financial wellness startup. She was the former Lead Storyteller at ShopUp, a B2B commerce startup.