Every founder knows this scenario very well: He was playing around with his idea in his basement and now it is time to get it out there. Suddenly the founder has to market himself to sell his product. Perhaps it needs a lot of explaining, but maybe it is also groundbreaking and triggers a hype, because it is in line with the current zeitgeist. In any case, consumers do not only want to learn more about the product itself, but also more about the person behind it.
Behind every brand stands a person
Each organization needs a face that is used for brand identification both internally and externally. No journalist likes to talk with a logo, but rather with the people who stand behind the brands and products. A famous example of successful personality PR is Steve Jobs, who transferred his image as a visionary on his brand, which still persists, despite his death. But not every entrepreneur has a charismatic personality such as Coco Chanel or a Richard Branson. Therefore, large companies often use celebrity endorsements or brand ambassadors who represent their brand to the outside. Most startups can’t afford this celebrity factor and have to represent their product through the founder or partner. However, this should not be seen as a disadvantage, but as a benefit: Who can better express their enthusiasm for the product than the founder himself?
People, visions and emotions
With an exciting background story every founder can pique the interest of the press. Interesting topics are not only the founder’s story itself (such as “We have developed the first computer in the garage of my parents’ house”) but also the whole journey until the product is ready to be launched. Which challenges and setbacks were in the way, what obstacles had to be taken and how did the founders overcome them and which relevant insights are interesting for other founders? These are always the topics that journalists are interested in as people just love to read stories about other people. In addition to that, themes such as the motive for the idea, the company’s mission or the vision of the founders could be also exciting.
Expertise as a hook
As the inventor or developer of a product, you are automatically an expert in your field. Editors also know this. They are usually always grateful for helpful input on relevant topics. These can be useful in form of expert articles, prepared accordingly suitable for the target media outlet. Usually it doesn’t matter, whether the founders actually have a degree in their field of topic or have yearlong experience in it. Once he deals extensively with a certain topic, he is automatically called an expert. In addition to publications, it is also useful to position yourself as an expert in form of speaker opportunities at appropriate conferences and events as well as to explore all possibilities for networking.
Be a role model!
Successful founders should not only rely on their success, but also serve as a role model. This could be as a mentor by sharing knowledge, as a supporter by investing money into other projects or by getting involved in a good cause. Although such acts usually have nothing to do with the project directly and should not be done out of pure calculation, the positive image they create indirectly projects back onto the company. Other interesting topics that can become talking points: Internal developments and improvements in terms of equality, staff motivation or working models of the future. The saying “do good and talk about it” may be unoriginal, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Bringing attention to your good deeds and carefully transferring the image to the company is a good strategy for positive attention.
Conclusion: Just to be a founder is not enough for a story. Anyone who wants to build a successful brand should use his own image and personality to create dreams and visions around a product. You don’t need to be a stage hog, it’s enough to express your expertise or to let your actions speak for themselves.