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April 27, 2011

PR's Value Extends to Startups — PRSA Op-Ed in DIGIDAY

PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, had an op-ed published April 27, 2011, in DIGIDAY on the strategic business value of public relations for startups. She stated that "using PR or marketing isn’t 'selling out;' it’s smart business. Of course, there are some important caveats, among them: having a strategic communications plan in place, avoiding the urge to only focus on 'getting press,' finding the right firm, etc."

"Much of what entrepreneurs do, in one way or another, is a form of communications," Fiske continued. "Whether working with customers, improving a product or service or speaking to a group of industry leaders, we're all aiming to tell a compelling story that resonates. And most business owners wouldn't consider that a bad thing."

Following is a preview of Fiske's op-ed in DIGIDAY:



HypeBusters: Startups Need PR
Rosanna M. Fiske, APR
DIGIDAY
Published: April 27, 2011


It’s no secret that tech startups and public relations have rarely been the best of friends.  Anecdotal tales abound of young (and mature) tech and social media firms boisterously eschewing all things PR and marketing — often with mixed results.
 
For many entrepreneurs, “being seen” using PR or marketing can be akin to a stamp of disapproval from industry peers. It’s as though a hot tech startup might lose its street cred, or be seen as selling out, by entertaining the notion of PR counsel. There’s the notion that it’s all about the product. But that’s a myth.
 
Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley is fond of saying PR “pretty much takes care of itself.” And rather infamously, Groupon has long shunned strategic communications in favor of its own blend of hype-infused rhetoric. Unfortunately, that  strategy hasn’t always  worked out for the "fastest growing company ever.”
 
Clearly, this flies in the face of long-time ad man Al Ries’ advice that the birth of a brand is through public relations.
 
Which is why I’d like to dispel a long-standing myth: using PR or marketing isn’t “selling out;” it’s smart business. Of course, there are some important caveats, among them: having a strategic communications plan in place, avoiding the urge to only focus on “getting press,” finding the right firm, etc.

Read the full op-ed here.
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