If there are stories which I rarely tell, they’re my experiences working with Steve Jobs. Why? Because not everyone can be Steve. Whether wanting to bring a company, product or service to the U.S., they’re bent on just doing a launch, not breaking out among the competition. That’s why Steve was different. He always broke out and explored ways to tell his story unlike other companies. He would take strategic, calculated public relations risks so many were afraid to do. When it’s time to bring your story to the market, follow these steps to break out, not follow others onto the scene.
Think about the market landscape while defining your market position
Yep, don’t do one or the other in a vacuum. If you’re an app in Israel which allows consumers to create movies out of photos, find other related companies already existing in the U.S. and learn how they’re positioning themselves in the market. Notice that I’m not suggesting that you just do a comparison of features and try to compete on better or cheaper. You need to read how they are talking about their companies and how the press and analysts writing about them. What’s missing? Has any other company announced how their photo to movie special effects has been used by more people around the world? If not, why can’t you? Take the lead.
Don’t apologize for being you
If you’re going to take risks, you’re going to get criticized. So what? You’re not breaking the law. You’re not telling lies. You’re simply looking at how your story can be told differently than the rest and rise above the noise to get attention for your approach. Believe me, you want the criticism. It’s good to be challenged. Challenges shake up markets, stir creativity and bring life into otherwise dying industries. We’ve all seen it happen. If you make a mistake, learn from it, and move on.
Mirror Frank Sinatra
If you know the song “My Way,” you know Sinatra owned the tune. Good or bad, he lived life to its fullest extent, his way. Even Sinatra admitted that. Similar to not apologizing for you being you, if you’re going to break out then don’t copy others. No one will be impressed. And you will not stand out. Spend the money and take the time to craft your own brand look, feel and messages. Your culture will thank you later. You and your company will also come to build a reputation. Your peers will ask you to speak at their conferences. Press will want to be around and talk with you. Events will be planned with your attendance in mind.
Leverage Those Around You
What’s one thing that Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson and Howard Hughes had in common? They were not afraid to hire people who were smarter than they were to run specific parts of their businesses. If you want to build out your public relations organization, leverage those who you know, have worked with or have learned can develop, execute and manage short and long-term public relations programs. Short and long term? Of course, anyone who you hire needs to understand that they are part of the ‘make it happen’ team. Everyone is in the business together, for the long haul.
In conclusion, and without trying not to sound cliché, I really think launching public relations campaigns is ‘dead’ for the masses. The only companies who deserve a launch are those whose technology is revolutionary to the market or backed by a former famous CEO. Otherwise, strategy and creativity need to be prevalent in every aspect of the marketing organization from the press release to the blog to how a company exhibits at a trade show. It’s the difference between drinking your own ‘cool-aid’ and sharing a glass with everyone around you.