Tag Archive for: PR for hyper-growth

The world is hyperconnected, and perception reigns supreme. How stakeholders like consumers, investors, and even employees view organizations can make or break their success. Enter public relations, where strategic communication and the power of perception are the keys to building brand authority with PR strategies.

The Evolution of Public Relations

 

Like every other industry, the 21st century has changed public relations. The concept of PR as “spin” is outdated and myopic. Today, PR touches almost every department of a growing company and encompasses reputation management, crisis communication, and stakeholder engagement. It touches almost every department of a growing company, from the C-Suite to HR to product development and, of course, marketing.

From ancient civilizations using symbols and rhetoric to monarchies employing courtiers for image management, managing perception has always been woven into the fabric of human societies. In the early 20th century, figures like Edward Bernays (often hailed as the father of PR) laid the groundwork for modern practices. Bernays, drawing insights from psychology and sociology, emphasized persuasion, image crafting, and media collaboration.

Fast forward to today—the global PR market is estimated at a staggering $114.1 billion. But what makes PR truly powerful? Let’s explore the power of perception as the keys to building brand authority with PR strategies.

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling

Storytelling has become indispensable for brand authority. It weaves narratives that resonate emotionally, and no doubt, PR is at this table. Whether it’s perception-changing narratives, thought leadership, or awards, navigating the land mines of purpose-driven initiatives, or providing data and insight into your most important audiences, the power of perception IS building brand authority with premium PR strategies.

Storytelling is the activity that humanizes entities and builds genuine, memorable connections with audiences.

 

Navigating the Media Landscape

The media world is dynamic and has its own set of rules and expectations; agility and fitness are paramount for navigating trends and opportunities and handling crisis communications. PR can weigh in on the perceptions of advertising platforms or choices, expand upon the impact of marketing initiatives, and help brands navigate the very important phase of pre-IPO.

Because much of PR has a long life span, the thought process behind it is very strategic. PR often considers five years down the road. For example, how will a CEO’s thought leadership contribution age after the company has gone public?

The CEO’s Role: A Balancing Act with PR Strategies

For CEOs and marketing directors of hypergrowth companies in the pre-IPO phase or with venture funding, PR is both art and science. For CEOs, PR isn’t just about the company’s branding, it’s about their own as well. PR impacts not only the IPO offering but it can affect CEO pay as well. Here’s how PR can build brand authority and wield its power:

  1. Authenticity: CEOs must embody authenticity. Transparent communication builds trust. Whether addressing challenges or celebrating victories, honesty resonates with stakeholders. PR supports these messages strategically, keeping their fingers on the media’s and other stakeholders’ pulse.
  2. Thought Leadership: CEOs should position themselves as thought leaders. By sharing insights, participating in industry discussions, and contributing to relevant publications, they elevate their personal brand and, by extension, the company’s authority. Emerging industry leaders are very often exceptionally smart and laser focused. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge for CEOs because it’s important that leaders know how to relate to a broader range of stakeholders, which is often a process that takes practice. PR can help leaders of emerging industry harness all the power of the technology they have championed for each stakeholder.
  3. Crisis Management: PR shines during crises. CEOs need a well-defined crisis communication strategy. Swift, transparent responses mitigate damage and maintain credibility.
  4. Media Relations: CEOs should cultivate strong media relationships. PR professionals ensure that CEOs remain accessible to journalists and provide valuable insights to improve positive coverage.
  5. Social Responsibility: Companies with purpose-driven initiatives garner respect. CEOs championing social causes create a ripple effect, enhancing brand perception.

Building Brand Authority with Industry Spotlight: Tech, Green Tech, and Beyond

For emerging industries like GreenTech, FinTech, cannabis, AI, and drone companies, building brand authority with PR strategies is pivotal.

  1. Tech Titans: Tech CEOs wield immense influence. Their vision shapes the future. PR helps them communicate breakthroughs, navigate regulatory landscapes, and foster investor confidence.
  2. Green Tech Innovators: Sustainability is no longer a buzzword—it’s a mandate. Green tech leaders use PR to showcase eco-friendly solutions, attract investors, and rally public support. And yet, sustainability comes with its own set of storytelling pitfalls, so PR can help shape a story that help prevent a crisis.
  3. Emerging Industries: Whether it’s space exploration, healthtech, fintech, or quantum computing, emerging sectors rely on PR to establish credibility. CEOs must articulate their vision and impact, and with emerging industries, there is often the balance of a regulatory environment alongside explaining difficult concepts to stakeholders in a way that is both understandable and exciting.
  4. Fintech Revolutionaries: Fintech CEOs disrupt traditional finance. PR helps them demystify complex concepts, build trust, and foster adoption.
  5. Cannabis Pioneers: Cannabis CEOs face unique challenges. PR destigmatizes the industry, educates the public, and advocates for sensible policies.
  6. AI Architects: AI CEOs bridge the power of tomorrow with today’s businesses. PR showcases AI’s potential, addresses ethical concerns, and fosters collaboration.
  7. Drone Visionaries: Drones are revolutionizing industries. CEOs must communicate safety, innovation, and societal benefits through PR.

 

Give yourself the space to have your brand grow and leverage PR as early as possible and to the extent your PR budget will allow. If you’re incorporating PR from the start, then leveraging the opportunities when its critical will

Ever since the pandemic, there has been a new emphasis on the emerging industry of telehealth, many of which are on the pre-IPO track. And while telehealth VC investment is expected to stay flat in 2023, the industry received an exciting $29.1 billion in funding in 2021, mostly for consumer tech services and apps, but B2B is also on solid footing. Regardless of funding levels, how has healthtech PR helped hypergrowth brands thrive through the disruptive business environment?

 

Hims/Hers HealthTech and Consumer Goods Maximizes Growth with PR

  • $233 million raised
  • First day of trading: Jan. 21, 2021
  • SPAC proceeds: $280 million
  • SPAC valuation: $1.6 billion, according to Forbes

Hims/Hers operates two websites offering medical services specific to men (Hims) and women (Hers). To catch the attention of VCs and to eventually go public in 2021,  healthtech PR helped hypergrowth tech brand Hims/Hers maximize their most opportune moments. With a total funding amount of $233 million and a successful SPAC IPO, Hims/Hers PR was strategic and purpose-driven, which helped it create consumer trust and make them a media darling at the right time.

Authentic Purpose-Driven PR for HealthTech

In 2021, Hims/Hers followed AirBnB in offering services to displaced Afghan refugees in the wake of the U.S. military’s sudden departure from Afghanistan. Not only did this create trust for their customers, many of whom expect brands to be socially impactful, but they also leveraged tech-based media such as TechCrunch to report the news and capture investors’ imaginations. It may have caught the attention of Walgreens, who missed the chance to contribute when their competitor, Walmart beat them to the punch because three months later, Walgreens started carrying the Hims & Hers personal care products in-store and online.

Targeting Early Adopters with Content

Although it went dark in 2021, Hims/Hers used Medium to own their story, create interest in the early-adopter crowd, and help them navigate the choppy consumer waters during the pandemic. Hims/Hers used Medium to make announcements, and they also hosted Q&As with medical professionals over topics that showed their consumers they understood them and their most personal medical problems.

 

Healthtech Kiira Health Leverages Healthcare PR at Opportune Moments

  • $4 million raised
  • Named one of the most promising startups in 2021 by VCs in Business Insider

Kiira is a healthtech startup that provides an online health clinic to college-aged women with an inclusive and culture-centered approach. The platform provided 24/7 365 access to trusted health experts, including primary care providers, ObGyn, nurse practitioners, and mental health experts. When the pandemic hit, many college-aged women found themselves without access to healthcare. This an especially acute issue because without “adequate resources and guidance, students are at risk for high rates of STDs on campus, unintended pregnancies, adolescent maternal deaths, and other adverse events.” according to CEO and cofounder Crystal Evuleocha, so she teamed up Dr. Candice Fraser, MD FACOG to solve the issue for millions of young women.

Using the Media to Reach Your Target Community

Both co-founders are open about their own experiences with a lack of access to care or questions about how to access care and the dangerous consequences. By leveraging personal stories that speak directly to the organization’s community, the co-founders have shown their audiences that they truly understand them, as they did in Forbes and Essence in 2021.

Moreover, when the founders speak to their community, they stay on message. They share the same information that inspired them to start Kiira Health and they underscore the most pressing issues for young women.

Using Press Releases For Corporate History

Should you issue a press release, or shouldn’t you? One time it’s crystal clear that you should, when there is a big corporate moment that will build your brand credibility with press and/or consumers, as Kiira Health did when it announced its first flagship location in Los Angeles. While press releases aren’t usually the source of media coverage by themselves, it likely didn’t hurt when Crunchbase included them in a story about health and wellness startups. This kind of press release acts a flagpole in the sand for future credibility building for both VC and media.

 

Folx Health Using PR to Elevate Understanding

  • $59 million raised
  • #28 on Fast Company’s list of World’s Most Innovative Companies 2023

Taking Control of their Founding Story

Folx Health is a healthtech platform that provides healthcare services tailored to the LGBTQIA+ community, starting at $59/month. In May 2020, Folx founder A.G. Breitenstein took to Medium to tell how Folx came to be. Although this Medium post is their only Medium post, it shows a particular media savvy. In December that year Folx’s $4.4 million funding led to coverage on Mashable, Built in Boston, and Crunchbase. The Medium post is so important because it is an early flag in the sand about the founding story of the then little-known startup Folx, which is important when a big media announcement hits and suddenly there is a lot of press and a lot of opportunities for the founding story to be misunderstood or misrepresented.

PR to Take a Stand

On the heels of its $30 million raise in October 2022, Folx appears to take control of its narrative again. This time, it does so as a fierce source of information about healthcare’s inadequacy for the queer community. Time after time, Folx uses an intelligent combination of data and storytelling to articulate Folx’s purpose and need to a broader audience. And this time, Folx CEO is the spokesperson for thier entire community: The American healthcare system, “at best, wasn’t built for us. And actually, more often than not, it’s openly discriminatory,” says Liana Douillet-Guzmán, of the LGBTQ community. Folx isn’t simply leveraging purpose-driven PR, they are CULTURALLY purpose-driven, making their PR story all the more attractive.

 

 

All of these hypergrowth healthtech brands provide examples of PR in healthcare brands, but these examples can also be useful for all startups in any phase of growth. Taking ownership of PR in the earliest stages can pay remarkable dividends in the early development and later hypergrowth stages. During times of volatility, PR can be the shining beacon into the future and light the path for future growth, even with past coverage.

Ways for Startups  & Hypergrowth Companies to Inspire Radical Employee Loyalty

This presentation will take you less than 5 minutes to get through but will make you re-think your startup marketing efforts permanently.

In today’s world where disruption is everywhere, it’s never been more important for hyper-growth companies and their executives to think holistically about their marketing and PR – inside and outside.

Leaders at even the fastest growing companies can create empowered, full-filled employee advocates that supercharges every single business goal. 

How can CEOs of today’s fastest growing companies create thriving cultures where employees are your best advocates?

 

Download the presentation here:

Employee Advocacy for the Startup for Hypergrowth CEO