Positioning and messaging. In the world of public relations, these two words represent a large chunk of our work. Get it right, and journalists come away from an interview with a unique perspective about your company, product or service that frames it accurately amongst its peers. PR is about creating and conveying a story effectively, and its one of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about my role over the years. Being a sounding board for a client can help that company distill the benefits of its products or services into bite-size pieces of information that, if done right, help that company stake a claim on a certain part of the competitive landscape’s turf.
As my colleague, Jaci Hendricks-Scott, wrote earlier, people (in this case journalists) aren’t always interested in what your company or product ‘is.’ Sometimes, without a proper frame of reference, they may find it difficult to understand what the company is offering. Technology companies are notorious for wielding a lexicon of acronyms and jargon that can leave outsiders perplexed (and disinterested). So I have found that one of the most successful ways to help people understand what it is that a client ‘is’ offering, is if they are prepared to first frame the conversation with some background into what the client ‘isn’t.’
For start-ups, this advice may be particularly appropriate. As the technology bandwagon continues to grow, it seems that more and more products are iterative rather than truly revolutionary. And that’s not a bad thing. It simply means that in a highly complex landscape where techno-babble is de rigueur, having a solid handle on what a product does and doesn’t do can be an extremely useful tactic that allows a spokesperson to build a narrative around a very focused product. This doesn’t mean that a discussion needs to be dumbed down. Journalists are smart people, but they’re also extremely busy. M.G. Siegler, an investor and guest author at TechCrunch, wrote a great article back in 2009 called Keep It Simple, Stupid. That mantra still resonates today, and it’s one that I highly recommend all tech companies heed as they try to tell their unique stories.