City Publicity Blog
I had the chance to speak to Chris Drake from CarValues.co who launched his business at Startup Weekend Brisbane 2014 @SWBNE14. He shares his experience on the transition from an idea pitched in one weekend to being accepted into a Sponsored Entrepreneur Program ( sponsored membership and mentoring ) with River City Labs.
Is it worth it and how can it help an early stage startup?
Startup Weekend Brisbane July 10th 12th 202015
I had the pleasure of organising and hosting Brisbane's first ever Startup Weekend Women last weekend.
Here are the teams who took out the top prizes.
Startup Weekend for Women - The Winners
What will business look like tomorrow or next year?
How can you create a business that will change with the times and embrace fast moving technology yet not get left behind?
Watch this episode of Good Business that I recoded for USQ last year. Things change so fast so this video interview will get outdated very quickly - but for now in 2014 it is relevant.
Zoom to my tips at 2:53 , 4:56, 11:40, 14:08, 20:36, and 22:00
Top Tip #1:
Stay ahead of the pack. How:? Never stop looking at what the market is doing overseas. We tend to follow suit here in Australia and trail market developments from faster moving economies in the USA and Europe. Find a successful business like yours in a different country and watch them, see what they are doing that works.
Top tip #2
Never be satisfied or get comfortable with where your business is at. The moment you do, things will change. Don't get left behind!
Top Tip #3:
Validate your idea/business/product constantly. Keep asking your customers what they need. Ask for feedback, ask what woudl =make their life easier. Find the pain points and work out ways you can create a solution to that problem. Keep your customers satisfied all the time. Never stop asking, ever.
Would you like a personal consultation with me to chat about your business on any of these topics or how you can play get in the global market?
Email me: peta at citypublicity dot com dot au.
The most important thing for a Startup business is EXPOSURE. A cost effective way to get exposure in the early days is though publicity and PR.
PR campaigns can be costly don't have to be. You can generate a Press Release or Product Release Announcement for minimal money. Distribution is also quite easy these days as there are a number of great and cheap or free distribution services available.
Share your story - how you started, why and who is involved.
Announce launch dates, new hires, new product features - be excited about your announcement. Telling the world about your business with passion opposed to sending out a few press releases is the difference between getting exposure and being ignored.
Essentially a Startup is a business that is solving a problem that consumers will want to know about. Highlight the problem, talk about the current solutions ( if any) and focus on why yours is better. Then announce your solution, add details, specifics, case studies, share stories of how your product/solution has helped someone, saved someone money, changed someone's life, made their job easier.
These are all great ways to generate publicity.
Listen to this video at 5:27 minutes in on how PR helped these Startup Businesses
Picture launching your online business and within the first 6 months you have thousands of people signing up and buying your products. Cool? Absolutely! What you had hoped and dreamed of? Absolutely!
Make sure you plan for the BIG PICTURE though and along with your SUCCESS prepare yourself for realistic outcomes. Know that with fans, come the critics and although it is just part of the journey - it can get sticky. Unless of course what you are selling is not quite what customers are actually getting - then it could turn quite pear shaped.
Negative feedback online is not great for any brand as bad news spreads much faster than good. Integrity, professionalism and honesty in online business is essential as most transactions are transparent and public.
Thousands of fans and LIKEs on Facebook is great, a responsive engaged audience is even better. All it takes however is a few disgruntled customers or critics to start a smear campaign online aimed at tainting your reputation and brand. True or not, it will spread as the internet just loves opinionated content.
Gold Coast Business "Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge" is a great example of this. Ashy Bines' business has grown very rapidly in the last 6 months and maintained a busy online profile as well as her online business. I found her as a result of seeing many of my own personal Facebook friends comment and LIKE her Facebook page. I actually became a little bit addicted to looking at her customer's before and after photos. As I'm sure many others did.
From what I saw, the Facebook Page grew very fast via results-driven marketing ( before and after photos) and many positive customer testimonials. The engagement of the page is crazy good with many, many, shares and comments on almost every post, status update and comment.
Recently, I read this article and watched the Today Tonight Clip highlighting some disgruntled customers and an interview with Ashy. This was the first I had heard anything negative about her brand and 'package' ( Ashy Bines Clean Eating Plan selling for $69).
After Googling "Ashy BInes Scam" I found many more results return. Including the Anti-Ashy Bines Facebook Page and another TV piece aired on A Current Affair ( clip below) , this time without and interview of Ashy - more negative focussed with more disgruntled customers.
Truth or not, the thing is that a few weeks ago Googling Ashy Bines may have returned her own website and Facebook pages - yet now with more negative content sitting on the web in the form of comments in Forums, Negative facebook groups and the TV coverage as clips posted on YouTube - a general Google search returns controversial results.
Their Brand has suffered some damage.
Only Ashy Bines and her team can rectify this from here. It seems to me that the two negative media pieces were generated by critics and unhappy customers that were looking for quick fix and for her plan to work like 'magic' on them. Many were expecting 'more' for their money or something different that what they got, not necessarily unhappy with the product, just unhappy with the communication of what they thought they would get. Some go further questioning the business ethics of the company - but really when you pay a one-time fee of $69 how much can you really expect to get?? I'm thinking they have over- promised and under delivered. Perhaps a communication breakdown?Perhaps poorly set up systems at Ashy Bines HQ?
Whatever the case, someone needs to step up and address these issues before it snowballs out of control. It seemed to me ( from the outside looking in) that it was a really god business and concept. It might still be - but the unrest needs to be sorted out first. There is nothing worse in a crisis or brand sabotage than hiding. Speak up! I say.
However in saying this, it does highlight the fact that what you make 'promises' online the audience you intend it to be for might not be the one that ends up reading it. The internet is public - remember?
In Ashy's case, promising a 'lifetime of online support 24/7' is a massive ask for anyone. I think 'lifetime' needs to be defined as does '24/7' and 'support'. Clear up the grey areas, and don't promise what is clearly not possible.
It just goes to show though that even though you can be wildly 'successful' (like selling 20,000 diet plans at $69 each in 6 months) and still have negative press run in primetime TV about you! It is imperative that your Marketing Plan, Business Model and Public Profile are all backed up by strong Systems , policies and most of all a Crisis Management Plan including a Social Media Policy so all of your hard work isn't compromised in a few kicks.
I hope these guys put out a Press Release soon or better still an online video response to their customer issues with answers and solutions. They may be able to turn it around - maybe.
What is your verdict on this?
Are you at risk? One tweet, one status update or one tagged photo, it only takes ONE to come tumbling down.
People and businesses spend lots of time and money on building strong Social Media profiles with great importance placed on building followers, likes and databases. What is often missed are the simple steps that can be taken to protect your growing online empire.
One misplaced tweet, one Facebook update tagging the wrong person or wrong photo, one personal post to a work profile, one private rant about your employee in your own time on your own Facebook profile, one politically incorrect statement shared on public forum, one small offensive comment that was 'intended' to be funny RT'd by millions, one disgruntled employee taking work Facebook logins to their next job, one contractor posting 'unapproved' content on a clients profile, one this, one that - it only takes ONE.
There are so many opportunities where Social Media can take your brand to a place you never wanted it to go.
Need some examples? Browse though PRdisaster.com and type "Social Media" into the search box. The case studies go on and on. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Large companies, celebrities, small businesses, sports personalities and even journalists are creating PR issues all over the world all due to miss-placed social media posts.
Social Media is social and public - more public than many people realise. My mind boggles at how much time people spend building their brand and reputation online yet take virtually no steps to protect that reputation.
My Social Media Policy of choice and one I proudly publicly endorse is MySocialPolicy.
Policies can range from $500 - $7000 depending on your needs and size of your company. Some good questions to ask yourself are these:
- "How much is my reputation worth?"
- "How much would it cost me to rebuild my brand and loyal online following if I had to start over from scratch?"
- Do I trust all of my employees 100% to do what I think is the "right thing" online and is their version of "common sense" the same as mine?
As I mention in the podcast , you can download free template policies but they will not stand up in court, my suggestion is to do it right the first time and hand it over to the professionals.
Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on Social Media Policy.
Picture yourself walking down the street and being noticed by strangers.
They know YOU, know what YOU look like and what YOU do, they know YOUR story and are happy to see YOU in 'person'.
We are not talking 'stalker-like' knowing you, more like ; "I think I know her", "That's the lady from the Sunday Mail article about..." "That's that woman who started that company who ...' "He's the founder of that shoe company who ... " Those kinds of comments.Would you LIKE it?
Building a great public profile means putting yourself 'out there' to be noticed. Not so much the product or business - it's more about YOU, the person behind the business, the brains, the passion, the driver.
- Be Passionate
- Be Excited
- Be Authentic
I read two job advertisements today and had to post about it. Once was totally awesome, the other not so great.
I also posted on Twitter that #yougetwhatyoupayfor when I was referring to the 'bad' job ad. I need to explain why. Although this is true to some extent, if you read the job advertisement and compare how these two companies go about it you will see why one of them will attract the right person for their brand and the other most likely, will not.
Please note the jobs advertised are very different I am merely using them as example to highlight the difference in style of advertising and attracting the right people for your brand. Salaries are not advertised for both, only one of them - one is part time, the other is full time.
Why am I interested in this as a Publicity/profile topic? I believe everything that you put online reflects on your brand. Job advertisements included. They even appear in online search - depending on what content the advertisement has included. It is all content and it is a good reminder to make sure that it is in-line with your brand, your company ethos and are happy for it to be 'public'.
JOB 1 was a Marketing Role ( Digital Innovation Consultant - Marketing)
The company had their brand visible so you know who you would be working for. You could google the company name to find out more about them, see if the business appealed to you and if you had something to offer a company like theirs. My favorite part is they have a section with a link to it within the ad which advises how best you apply for a job with them and what they are looking for. They also have a video on what the place looks like , the people in it and essentially where you would be going to work each day. This information is all public for everyone to see at all times.
The job ad stipulates the company is a leader in their field and suggest that if you are of the right level your application should be a standout amount the 100's that come in. The company stands out already, they want great people to join the team and if you are exceptional, there will be a desk for you. Money is not mentioned - lifestyle is, good work/life balance is, along with support, mentoring and growth. All of these things reflect on the overall brand once again. Quality. They want quality people to create quality work for quality clients. This in turn should provide a challenge, rewards, job satisfaction and a well balanced lifestyle.
I would apply for that that job if I was looking. I may sweat out the daunting application process but once though I can imaging it would be a very rewarding place to grow.
Job 2 is a Marketing Role. ( Marketing Expert)
This one lead with the headline: Great Working Environment • Exciting Opportunity • Close to Transport • Thursday – Friday (apr. 20 hrs ) • alternatively part time-suit student.
- What can you expect at #StartupWeekend ?
- From Startup Weekend to Incubator - does it help a Startup Grow?
- Startup Weekend Brisbane Women 2015 - the winners
- Benefits of working in a coworking space
- Top 3 Tips to stay ahead of the pack and build a 21st Century Business in 2014
- What can PR do for a Startup?
- Imagine your rapidly growing business being attacked by critics.
- Are you at risk? One tweet, one status update or one tagged photo, it only takes ONE to come tumbling down.
- Imagine if people started recognising YOU in the street!
- How Job advertisements can affect your public profile and brand.
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