Where does PR fit in the ‘Start-up’ budget?

October 2016

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Two of the most common phrases we hear in the PR industry is “We’re a start-up” and “We don’t have much budget”.

One of the biggest challenges a start-up faces, is balancing a tight budget with the need to create brand awareness. The reality is that consumers want to engage and support businesses who they believe are authentic, responsible and credible. In my experience, no business starts with those three measurements in place – they have to be earned and this is where PR comes in.

A well thought out PR campaign can address many of the initial fears or concerns associated with start-up services and by working with credible influencers, PR can give your brand the authenticity and credibility it needs to succeed.

When your financial resources are limited, every penny you spend needs to work hard for you and presented with high PR fees sadly many start-ups decide to play it safe and invest the money elsewhere. But faced with modest budgets, PR can actually deliver the best return on your investment, so instead of holding back, put some of the below checks and balances in place to make sure your investment pays off.

Select the RIGHT agency

Once you have short listed a few agencies, ask yourself some questions. For example, do they have experience in your industry? Have they worked with start-ups previously? Do they share your vision? Do you believe they understand the business objectives? Do you like the people and team?

If you can tick some of these boxes you have made a good start.

Give a clear brief and set KPI’s

Give the agency a tight brief with as much detail as possible, this will enable the agency to develop the best strategy for your business. Set clear performance indicators - if you both know what the expectation is at the start, neither party will be disappointed.

Agencies that are not willing to ‘put their money where their mouth is’ most likely don’t share your vision.

Commit to an agency for the long run

Building a business takes time and building an authentic reputation takes just as long. The agency you choose to work with should be one you see in your business’s future. A good PR agency will be one that recognises the growth potential of your business and will mirror your investment in them.

If the campaign is successful, continue to invest in PR and work together long into the future. Switching agencies a few months into the campaign means starting again.

Cheapest does not equal best

When budgets are tight, it is tempting to go with the lowest quote – this may not necessarily be the best choice. If you have selected the agency based on some of the criteria outlined above, the agency will be proposing a fee which they believe is fair to achieve the desired results.

At Pead PR we have worked with a number of start-ups, the most notable being My Food Bag. We took them on from the very start and their initial budgets were lean. My Food Bag is now a household brand thanks to some creative and smart thinking to make their small budgets work hard for them in the early days. Often the difference lies in doing a few things well through some creative thinking.

Sarah Munnik