How to use communications when your product is delayed

I have worked with countless startups over the years. Some
have been runaway successes, others have had to work harder at getting their
customers’ attention and yet others have simply crashed and burned. They all
had two things in common: they wanted people to know about their ideas,
products and services and there were always major delays. That’s usually where
the similarities end.

All too often I meet founders who believe PR can be
“turned on” just a couple of weeks before the company’s big launch. These same
folks also believe that PR can be “turned off” in the (highly likely) scenario
that their product launch is delayed, or the deal they want publicized doesn’t
get signed when they expected.

Here’s the thing: PR is not a faucet to be turned on and
off. Sure, we can scale up and down to keep pace with product development
changes or the inevitable timeline shifts, but in my experience, the companies
who ultimately win are those run by
leaders who understand that PR has a strategic role to play, even when the
loudspeaker is turned off.

While founders are understandably keen to conserve cash
flow, I urge them not to be “penny-wise and pound-foolish” as we say in the UK.
It’s a false economy to think saving a few thousand dollars on PR now,
will earn you a big pay-off down the road. The right PR consultant should be
just as valuable when you’re being quiet, as when you have news to shout from
the rooftops.

PR can still operate effectively for your company during downtime, by keeping an eye on the trends in the media, informing
you what the competition is up to, providing a marketer’s input on your product
while it’s in development, and networking you with the right journalists and
influencers,  And when the time comes to flip the switch, you can be sure it’ll go off with a bang.

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