According to Enterprise Singapore, the number of startups in Singapore increased substantially from 2012 to 2016. In the technology sector alone, the number went up from 3,400 to 4,300 in four years. Currently, there are over 262,000 Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore. Also, consistent financial support from the government motivates the growth of startups and SMEs. While this staggering growth calls for a celebration, it poses a unique set of problems. A growing number of startups and SMEs brings more competition to these brands. This leads them downhill even before they taste the sweetness of success, which is why brand building is extremely important.
Brand building is a priority
Advertising is an expensive channel to promote your brand. It does not benefit much to get your brand out far and long. Brands need to build their image to stay put in the startup ecosystem. A quote by Jean-Louis Gassée, a former Apple executive, explained PR as “Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.” When a media outlet picks up a press release, it builds credibility among the audience because organisations earn media through PR. Unlike its paid media counterpart – advertising – people would rather trust an editor and his/her content.
Here’s how organisations can build their brand through public relations. Firstly, identify your target audience, set a goal, follow it up with a good publicity strategy, and lastly, choose the correct platform.
“Everybody” is not your target audience
Target audience is important for brands that are set-up. Each group is different when it comes to media habits. A deep understanding of your target audience is important for brand building. This is why startups and SMEs need to come up with ideas that cater to their consumers.
For a brand to be relevant, it is essential to choose the correct group of the target audience. Aim at audiences according to the field of the brand. Once the target audience is defined, the company can then cater to their habits, and eventually influence their purchasing behaviour. Research on their media consumption habits, tailoring advertisements or campaigns according to their taste, and drafting the company’s message accordingly would be more effective after following this practice. After a deep analysis of understanding your consumers, churning ideas for would be more smooth, which, in turn, will help in building brands.
Aim for the low hanging fruit
According to a German proverb, the sweetest grapes hang the highest, but if one cannot reach it, the effort is fruitless. It means the same while setting an objective. A reachable goal is ideal for a new brand. A realistic and simple one like creating more brand awareness should suffice. If there is an upcoming event, promoting recognition is a relevant goal. Connecting with media outlets for exposure in related fields is also important for network expansion.
Goals should also be clearly defined to help a company with its direction. Startups and SMEs should aim for specific and achievable goals. Aim for the lowest hanging fruit, which might also be sweet.
Not all publicity is good publicity
Companies may want to gain massive publicity through several advertisements to reach out to their target audiences. It is, indeed, crucial to building a positive image in the media, but in certain cases, it might tank. In short, a publicity strategy is more critical than a branding strategy for customers to gain trust.
Companies usually steer clear of controversies, due to the fear of losing potential customers. We’ve often seen how people try and stay away from controversial issues; companies are no different. However, addressing these issues attracts the media. What they speak about the brand has a greater impact on the audience, rather than the brand speaking for themselves! In the long run, speaking about relevant issues that concern your target audience builds credibility for the brand.
Choose the correct stage to perform
The platform that companies use to convey their message is also essential, as it varies across groups of the target audience. After finding out about their media consumption habits, companies should target the social media that their consumers use frequently. By reaching out to them via the right media strategy, brands can build trust between their company and target audience. For example, working professionals are more active on LinkedIn than on Instagram. Putting an advertisement on Instagram regarding an upcoming workshop that targets working professionals, may not be as impactful as promoting the post on LinkedIn.
With people always on their smartphones in the 21st century, we are bombarded with hundreds of advertisements daily. With the correct strategy, the performance will stand out among the audience.
The bottom line
To attract attention among the growing startup and SME ecosystem, PR plays an important role in a brand-building exercise. It is therefore vital to define target audiences, with a precise aim, a good publicity strategy and understand how they consume media to get your brand to grow with a positive image.
Inspired by this post? If you are a startup or a corporate and are looking to build trusted relationships with your key audiences Get in touch with us to expand your brand awareness. Let’s push the creative boundaries, together.