Startups Changing PR Narrative from Media to Stakeholders

By Paarul Chand,

Two years ago, start-up funding was at its zenith- with multi-million evaluations the norm. A slew of e-com start-ups were suddenly in need of PR which prompted many PR firms to set up a start-up wing.

Today, as the money available becomes tighter with funders demanding proof of business models, the messaging being sought by start-ups has changed.

According to Vivek P. Rana, CEO, The PRactice, “The tightening of the funding tap has had an effect. Startup PR is no longer about the media, but about stakeholder level programmes, including direct customer engagement.”

The PRactice avoided setting up their start-up wing at the height of the chase for evaluations in 2014. The PR firm, which handled the storied IT giant, Infosys, in its startup days and beyond, has now launched its ‘Startup Consulting Solution’ in April this year to work with young companies and their entrepreneurs; to help them scale, strengthen market presence and develop stakeholder relations for achieving business objectives.

Vivek Rana feels that in the current PR environment firms must be able to offer not just consulting in areas such as brand communications and setting up customer lead pipelines, but also have the ability to execute them.

With clients in the retail, e-commerce, precision agriculture and microfinance sector, Rana says that e-com enablers, fintech, healthcare and agro-tech services will be their focus area for seeking start-up clients.

Typically e-commerce enablers include logistics, mobile advertising services and mobile wallets. While ‘The PRactice’ is not targeting logistics firms as of now, the rest would be logical target areas. The company will also take on clients across all 4 stages of funding and not confine itself to well funded firms alone.

The PRactice is now focusing on 5 main areas which includes corporate reputation, employee communication, branding, CSR and Start-ups.