Early-stage companies ramping up product development often struggle with a lack of brand awareness. When no one knows about your company, it’s difficult to attract good employees and nearly impossible to secure funding.
To remedy this, companies often think about advertising. However, advertising is an expensive way to build brand awareness. Young companies with precious resources, especially companies that are bootstrapped, should consider public relations instead.
In a recent article, John Tillotson, senior director strategic market development at nPhase, discusses his experience using PR to build awareness for start-up companies:
To be truthful, for an early stage technology start up, I think advertising is a waste of money. Who is really going to read and pay attention to an obvious self-promotion by a company they have never heard of? Might as well just throw your money out the window. If you want your target audience to pay attention to your company or solution, you’ve got a significantly better chance capturing “mindshare” if they read about you in a credible journal or publication, or if they see you speak as a thought leader.
We’ve been involved with a number of companies that have used PR as a secret weapon for growth: attracting funding, customers, partnerships and employees through good stories placed in appropriate publications. Advertising couldn’t deliver those results.