Rationale Behind Sending A ...


Thanks to cloud computing, social media, the app ecosystem and 3-D printing to name a few, the barriers to bring new consumer products to market keep getting lower and lower.

For the most part, democratizing the act of inventing and allowing more ideas to see the light of day is a good thing. I think we’ve met with more bootstrapped startup ventures over the past couple of years than in the previous 10 combined.

No matter how tight the bank account, today’s entrepreneurs still recognize the value of public relations giving their product a fighting chance for survival.

Again, this is a good thing.

But I think PR agencies need to play a stronger role in evaluating new products and answering the simple question:

Is the product ready for prime time?

Which means drilling down into questions like this:

  • How’s the “out-of-box” experience?
  • Is the product stable?
  • Where’s the differentiation?
  • Does it bring a smile to the user’s face?
  • Etc.

Increasingly, we’re playing the role of beta testing and taking greater control of our destiny. If we see problems, we’re working with clients to strengthen the product before the official launch. This way, we don’t have to answer pesky questions like, “Why does the app freeze every time I try to attach a photo?”

In a sense, this is the opposite of spin.

But what happens if the product was poorly conceived or suffers from what I’ll call foundation issues?

Such a situation happened earlier this week.

After evaluating the product, the team concluded that a public launch would be akin to walking blindfolded into a swamp while smeared with Nutella.

As is our policy in working with new ventures, we require part of the launch payment upfront to commence work. Subtracting our consulting time from the initial payment left a balance.

And that’s why we just cut a check for $4865 to return to the client.

Note: If you enjoyed this post, you might check out “Storytelling Can’t Help a Bad Product.”


  • Raf Weverbergh

    I think it’s a great evolution that PR agencies are increasingly getting a role in what amounts to business consultancy. PR professionals are excellently placed to evaluate some critical aspects of customer satisfaction and the effects on reputation, and they shouldn’t be afraid to voice important concerns in this regard to founders and managers of new ventures.

    Research has shown that top management actually values this type of advisor – but unfortunately most PR people seem to shy away from it.

    • hoffman

      I’m in complete agreement. This way, we take greater control of our destiny.


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