by | Feb 14, 2024

The Role of PR in Startup Success: Touchdown PR’s Specialty

By Priscilla Gonzalez, Assistant Account Executive, Touchdown PR

From startup to success, all businesses pass through distinct growth stages before establishing a strong presence in their industry. The business life cycle starts with inception, followed by expansion, then maturity. PR is a key component. Particularly in the tech sector, organizations hoping to avoid stagnation will find that creating a distinctive voice in an oversaturated media market is a crucial tool.

Touchdown’s work with Laminar, Cradlepoint, and Zerto—companies that were acquired by Rubrik, Ericcson, and HPE, respectively—provide a few examples of PR aiding in a startups journey to maturity and long-term success.

In this blog, we will dive into these examples and examine how effective communication strategies contribute to consistent growth, opportunities, and prominence for companies in the technology industry. 

How can PR benefit tech startups?

For emerging tech startups, you might believe focusing funding on business costs is essential, but investing early in PR can help build key relationships to assist with establishing brand positioning in the market. PR can aid the growth of tech startups by boosting visibility and credibility, building trust and establishing a positive reputation. It helps create compelling narratives, aids in differentiating oneself from competitors, and cultivates name recognition through media initiatives. PR tactics include media relations, social media communications, thought leadership, community outreach, crisis management and more.

Companies in the tech sector need to build trust with investors, partners, and consumers. By employing communication techniques to sculpt narratives and public perceptions, public relations acts as a liaison between an organization and its target audience, communicating a tech startup’s competency and potential to investors while showcasing the company’s vision, solutions and technology’s market relevance.

Building strong connections with journalists in the IT business is a critical tool for developing an industry-specific media presence. Relationships with journalists promote media coverage and provide direct access to target audiences, fostering authenticity and community trust. Furthermore, by cultivating positive media connections, companies may gain credibility through endorsements from industry heavyweights and gain a firm footing in the competitive tech market.

PR builds credibility and trust

When targeting customers, PR activities focus on crafting a unique and compelling narrative that highlights features of the technology while emphasizing the benefits and practical applications. In customer-focused PR efforts, the aim is to humanize the brand and facilitate brand loyalty while building trust.

When Touchdown was approached in November 2021 to help Laminar emerge from stealth, the data security posture management (DSPM) category was just emerging and several competing startups were entering the market, making it critical for Laminar to establish name recognition and stand out. Touchdown’s public relations efforts boosted Laminar’s reputation using an approach that while simultaneously trying to achieve industry significance.

Through targeted media placements in top tech publications, thought leadership pieces, speaking opportunities, awards and press releases, along with consistent communication and messaging, Laminar positioned itself as a leader in its sector while garnering positive attention from experts and investors in the industry – ultimately leading to a successful exit through acquisition in just two years.  

PR creates a strong brand presence

Public relations acts as an architect in the development of a startup’s brand identity, merging the company’s goal, values and distinguishing traits into storytelling, thought leadership and other strategic communications. PR activities help startups establish their unique voice in a dynamic market by strategically positioning and promoting their brand. Effective storytelling shapes audience perception, fostering connections, trust, and emotional engagement.

An example of creating a strong brand presence is Touchdown’s work with Cradlepoint, a company that specializes in providing cloud-based networking solutions. After years of work by Touchdown to increase brand awareness, media presence and share of voice, Cradlepoint was acquired by Ericsson for $1.1 billion. With the help of PR efforts focused on storytelling and thought leadership, Cradlepoint was positioned as a leading 5G thought leader and the vendor of choice for top-tier media.

PR carves out a space in the media landscape

Startups can engage media through targeted pitching, interest-specific pitches for journalists, offering unique insight on trending topics or current events and providing access to industry experts. By securing coverage in relevant industry publications, such as this piece in Network World, Touchdown’s PR efforts helped Cradlepoint build strong, lasting relationships with top influencers in the space, including journalists at CRN, TechRepublic, Network World, and many more.

PR strategies led by Touchdown also helped establish Zerto as an industry leader in cloud data management and protection, which supported the lead up to the company’s $374 million acquisition by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in 2021. Following the 2021 acquisition, Zerto has continued its work with Touchdown PR to amplify brand messaging, thought leadership, and propelling industry prominence through awards, bylines and media coverage in top-tier publications such as CRN, Blocks & Files and Solutions Review.

Measuring the impact of PR 

For a startup to invest in PR efforts, there is an expected ROI, or return on investment, in every situation. Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are a measurable value demonstrating how effectively a company is meeting key objectives, and it’s no different in PR. For PR, KPIs include audience sentiment, lead generation, media coverage, brand mentions, website traffic, social media engagement or shifts in brand perception. Four metrics that belong in every PR results deck include total pieces of earned coverage, online audience reach numbers, social media engagement metrics and share of voice (SOV) percentages.

In the beginning of 2022, Touchdown was hired by Aqua to increase brand awareness in the EMEA region through an approach focusing on thought leadership, media relations and targeted campaigns which resulted in 300+ pieces of media coverage. Another example of Touchdown PR’s influence is its capacity to assist startups in obtaining acquisitions, as indicated above in the cases of Zerto and HPE (with whom we are still working post-acquisition!), Laminar and Rubrik, and Cradlepoint and Ericsson. 

Propelling Organizational Growth through PR

Tech startups aiming to achieve diverse growth milestones, such as securing funding, initiating an IPO or navigating a successful exit strategy through sale or acquisition, can benefit significantly from the tailored services offered by a B2B tech specialist firm like Touchdown PR. We invite tech enterprises seeking strategic communication support to explore Touchdown PR’s comprehensive suite of services.

To learn more about how Touchdown PR can assist in reaching your company’s goals, email [email protected] to get in contact with us today.