Culture Critical

Jane Henry, co-founder of Marylebone Difference Marketing shares some words of PR wisdom for startups.

Jane Henry
Jane Henry, Co-Founder, Marylebone Difference Marketing

Startups face massive challenges from day one. Starting on the momentous journey to achieve a founder’s vision, they normally lack at least one of these three key factors: time, money and the ability to raise their heads above the intense, daily marathon.

It’s exciting to keep focussed on the big, disruptive dream and the innovative technology that’s going to get you there, but don’t neglect the marketing and PR fundamentals that will help gain awareness, build a community, generate real leads and attract further investment.

Startups who skimp on budget for professional internal or external marketing resources, will find they have no time to plan and execute their brand strategy, content, SEO, social, PR, advertising, GDPR-compliance, CRM and … the list goes on. And when budgets are under pressure, fight to maintain the marketing and PR budget. Long after any budget is cut, investors will still want the business to deliver on new customers and PR impact at launch and beyond.


Startups evolve, quickly. They pivot. Is the company narrative consistent across all channels? Does it even make sense anymore?

A marketing audit is a great way of assessing how effectively the brand is operating across all channels. See where the gaps are, where the messaging is unclear or out-of-date and fix it. Use key data points to benchmark, then optimise and model the successes to make marketing efficient.

Build a strong culture

Startup founders inspire the company culture, but marketing and PR are instrumental in embedding it throughout the organisation.

By communicating effectively and continuously the brand’s purpose, tone of voice and vision the team will bond and feel a massive sense of community and camaraderie.

And don’t forget the the startup story. That’s the one that everybody in the team should be able to recite - with passion, as if for the first time, to their friends, family, business prospects and anyone else who’ll listen!

So when it comes to advice for startups; don’t be bullied into cutting marketing budgets; organise a full-scale marketing audit once a quarter and create a positive, founder-led company culture that celebrates success and is transparent about the challenges every business faces. That way, you’ll not only build the company, but enjoy the momentous journey you’ve embarked upon.