My friend and fellow Windmill Networking columnist Judy Gombita wrote recently about the positive impact that reputation can have on company value. This is true for small and large companies, private and public.
But there is no better way to understand the value-building potential of good buzz and PR than to consider what it can do for tech startups - the types of companies that we work with at Fusion PR.
VCs are generally in the driver's seat when it comes to startup funding (unless you are one of those rare ones leading a hot new space that VCs are clamoring over). Most VCs are inundated with business plans. And many startups are underfunded and badly need cash to realize their dreams - whatever this might mean in terms of ownership and potential loss of control of the company.
But what a difference when the wind of great PR is at the backs of young companies! (Sadly, It is not always easy to get founders to see this, is as many are led by techies who might not understand PR).
Norm Roesnthal, who heads Fusion Business Accelerator,, always counsels clients to allocate at least some budget for PR before approaching investors. Getting featured in even just a few of the publications investors read can help - and a major hit in top tier media can work wonders.
Awhile back I referred to crowd funding websites like RoC or Kickstarter as the new press release. These sites show the very real and direct connection between buzz and fund raising results. Good buzz gained by tapping founder social networks and through media coverage helps drive interest in crowd funding campaigns. The excitement builds as the startup nears its funding goals, driving additional media interest and coverage. And so on.
An article in the NY Times showed how good PR can tilt the balance of power from investors to startups. It shared the story of VerbalizeIt, a tech startup that went on the TV show Shark Tank to publicly pitch the investor panel - and promptly parlayed the PR boon into a better deal, thumbing their noses at the offers they received on the show.