Today we bring you a guest post from Kristen Tischhauser and Chathri Ali, co-founders and managing partners of talkTECH, an L.A. and Chicago-based communications/business development firm serving “innovative, emerging brands and new-to-market products.”
This post is presented by AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. The San Francisco-based technology company is passionate about using data to show the true impact and value of PR.
We, as humans, are impatient. We don’t like to wait; we want what we want and we want it now. That’s why when launching a new tech startup, it’s smart to take a deep breath and make sure that the PR trigger isn’t pulled too quickly. As the famous saying goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.
Entrepreneurs put countless hours into perfecting our product or service, yet too many get excited to launch and do so before they are truly ready. A launch is not idea generation. We’re past the stage of throwing something out there to see what sticks. Instead, we want the masses to welcome us into their lives all the while wondering how they ever lived without us. This only happens if the proper steps are taken to ensure a successful launch.
Establish Your Positioning
If you’ve done your job right, you’ve developed a business plan that outlines your company’s positioning. Undoubtedly, this process took time. However, this is a critical step, the importance of which cannot be overlooked.
Lesson #1: Do not launch if you do not know the right positioning for your company.
If there is any doubt in your mind about your business’s positioning, take the time to figure it out—even if that means delaying your launch. It is much easier to work out the kinks in the privacy of your own office than it is to clean up a PR launch gone bad. Take the time you need to do it right.
Know Your Business Model and Growth Drivers
Sometimes entrepreneurs just want to get to the good stuff, the launch. However, all the tedious work leading up to that glorious day is really what counts the most. For a new venture to succeed, it’s imperative to have a strong business model and a fully-developed strategy for growth. All of this, of course, is the foundation for future success.
Lesson #2: Do not launch if your business plan is incomplete or you haven’t created a growth strategy.
Remember, the point of your business it to acquire and retain customers. This can only be done if you’ve developed a long-term strategy that is based on all your upfront planning.
The Success Stories
For the many who do a PR launch incorrectly, there are many more who do it right. Let’s look at a few.
- Popcorn Time – No sooner than news hit that Popcorn Time had shuttered its doors that Popcorn Time was reborn. This torrent-based, entertainment service is once again bringing movies and TV shows to the masses for free, thanks to its new Andoid application. The company spread the word via a creative, animated video, which informed viewers that the Popcorn Time service could never again be taken down.
Lesson #3: Be creative when you launch.
- Petnostics – This DIY pet urinalysis cup gives pet parents an overview of Fido or Fluffy’s health. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2012 alone, Americans spent nearly $50 billion on their companion animals. Much like other pet-related, tech products (e.g. Whistle and Tagg), Petnostics has identified a growing market and sought to understand the evolution of those consumers. They have identified a problem (e.g. the growing cost of veterinary care) and coupled it with a need (e.g. the desire to care for our treasured, four-footed family members).
Lesson #4: Fill a need and tell a story that makes the product relevant and newsworthy.
- Canvs – Canvs goes beyond traditional TV show analytics and captures the social elements that are a crucial component of today’s TV viewing experience. With so many people commenting on shows in real-time through social platforms, shouldn’t that data be tracked and the sentiment analyzed? Canvs says yes and there’s more to measuring a television show these days than traditional Nielsen ratings (a system that was created back in the 1950s). What made this launch extra special was Canvs had the foresight to time it around the close of the TV season when finales were airing.
Lesson #5: Be relevant to today’s trends and employ smart timing.
The Cardinal Sins
Feel free to print this section out and put a big, red X through it as a handy reminder of what not to do!
- Backburner your business plan, it’s not that important.
- Do not worry about future growth strategies, just get started.
- Ignore market trends.
- Launch when it’s convenient for you without regard to other timing issues.
- Do not be concerned with filling a need or solving a problem.
- Remember that positioning is overrated.
- Employ the same tactics that all your competitors do.
All it takes is the successful completion of any one of these cardinal sins to ensure your big launch day is a complete failure. However, success is just as easy to obtain if you take the time to plan. Remember, the big day only comes once and there are no do-overs.
Kristen brings a decade of public relations and marketing experience to talkTECH, specializing in the lifestyle and technology arenas. Prior to talkTECH, Kristen was the Director at a lifestyle boutique agency in Chicago, where she managed a variety of noteworthy clients and high profile events.
Chathri is a rising star in the world of startup marketing and PR, and as Managing Partner for talkTECH drives all high-level operations, strategy and account management for clients. Prior to joining talkTECH, she held executive roles at Los Angeles’ leading startups including Vice President of Marketing at Little Black Bag and the Director of New Media at Opportunity Green. She produces her own tech news podcast, LATech, and she has been a guest lecturer on marketing at UCLA and other schools.