Cultivating success: the crucial role of PR in navigating the startup landscape

As the founder of a startup, it’s a scary thought that roughly 60% fail in the first three years. However, the high failure rate of startups can’t be too much of a deterrent for entrepreneurs given that between 2020 and 2022 the number of tech firms in the UK doubled. 

This year, more than ever before, the importance of PR and effective communication strategies cannot be understated when it comes to startups who are trying to get their name out there, attract investors and stand out from the crowd.

Navigating the current economic landscape 

It’s no surprise that in uncertain economic times marketing budgets are the first to be cut. Although marketing budgets do seem to be bouncing back following the pandemic, especially when it comes to out-of-home consumer campaigns, towards the second half of last year, over 65% of marketers still said they were facing reduced budgets. 

This year, there will be a bigger focus on PR as a lead marketing channel because of continued uncertainty and inevitable budget challenges. It’s a much more cost-effective and impactful option. 

Again connected to global economic challenges, in 2023, the amount of money invested in UK startups was down, meaning that companies today are existing on less. Tech startups need to invest wisely in their communication to convince stakeholders of their key messages and that they’re here to stay, that they’re reliable and that they’re a serious business. Gone are the days of hollow marketing campaigns or things floated down the Thames.

Unlocking the power of PR and effective storytelling will not only make a marketing budget stretch further, but it can help to drive a carefully thought-out and crafted narrative around a company and its people in a way marketing cannot. 

An ever-crowded market 

The number of startups tends to increase during an economic turndown. In fact, many aspirational brands like Burger King, Uber and Airbnb were all founded during times of financial crisis. 

When people lose their jobs, sometimes the logical solution is to set up a business and work for yourself. With London as the ever-growing tech startup capital of the world, the scene is more crowded than ever. This means there are more brands out there fighting to become a voice that people know, trust and respect.

Impactful coverage is an amazing way to create credibility and legitimacy- be it from customers, current and potential investors, future employees or service providers. And it’s not just about the founder anymore, there is a growing appetite to hear from a variety of voices across a business as the positive impacts of diverse and well-rounded teams are increasing. 

This could range from compelling thought leadership in Forbes authored by a managing director to a range of expert comments on a new trend in the Mail Online.  These pieces position the business and its spokesperson as credible, authoritative leaders in their space.

To be as impactful as possible, businesses need to utilise the wealth of talent in their organisation. Each person can offer something different to the press. Your CEO should discuss the company’s success and vision for the future but isn’t the right person to discuss their HR or marketing strategy. Each sector will benefit from the specific experience from these other leaders.  

Attracting investors 

Given the current financial landscape, more startups are fighting for less money. The importance of having a credible reputation and respected brand has never been greater when it comes to attracting investors. 

Businesses need funding and capital injections but those looking to invest are inundated with choice. PR is there to help you stand out. It’s a catalyst for attention, and credibility and helps to drive a sense of “how can I be a part of that”. We conduct thorough media audits into your industry, delving into what is being written and spoken about in both the sector at large and your competitors in order to create a media strategy that will cut through the noise and help your business to differentiate itself.

By working with startups day in and day out, many of whom have secured significant investment from high-profile individuals, Words + Pixels knows what investors are looking for, and therefore the right things to be shouting about. From patents to unique technology and inspiring stories about overcoming challenges, PR will help you understand what your USP will be when it comes to attracting both investors and positive media attention.  

When it comes to attracting the right investors, the importance of moving away from a founder-centric approach is also evident. If you’re a tech business, technology is the most valuable asset you have and this needs to be the heart of your communications. A passionate interview or thought-provoking opinion piece from the Chief Technology Operator or Head of Tech might be what catches the attention of a potential tech-savvy investor and helps to convince them to believe in your business. 

Moving through the challenges 

With any startup, there are going to be bumps in the road when starting out. Having a reliable and trusted comms team onboard can help a business prepare and mitigate these challenges, guiding communication to ensure that any investor or stakeholder relationships are supported at all times.

PR isn’t just about securing coverage. We work best as an extension of your team through the good and the bad. We offer services such as media training and interview preparation to ensure that business leaders are equipped to face the press and answer the difficult questions they need to.

The journey of a startup is undeniably fraught with challenges, yet as we delve into the complexities of navigating today's economic terrain, the role of PR and effective communication emerges as key to getting through this and helping a business to thrive.

In an environment where marketing budgets face constraints, PR will be realised as the most cost-effective avenue to amplify a startup's voice, foster credibility, and cultivate a compelling narrative that resonates with all stakeholders.