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There’s no getting around that, to some extent, every startup makes it up as it goes along.

It’s a high wire act.

Inevitably, reality doesn’t match up with the theory, which in turn causes changes or even chaos.

Yes, this dynamic can also wreak havoc with the budget.

But there are many benefits from supporting startups that transcend the economic component.

When Arun Sudhaman from The Holmes Report made his trek to Silicon Valley, we discussed this topic. Based on this interview and others, Arun crafted the story “Startup Returns Outweigh Risks for Bay Area PR Firms.”

With this backdrop, I decided to draft my own top five list on the benefits of working with start-up ventures –

It’s called “energy” – There’s something downright invigorating about working with a new venture. You’re around people who believe down to their left ventricle that their invention will change everything. Even if it’s not true – and you don’t find out until further along in the journey – a startup’s energy rubs off on the agency. We supported a startup called Zediva last year in the online movie space. It didn’t have a happy ending – lost a lawsuit against the MPAA – but there’s a reason roller coaster rides are so popular.

Learn new stuff – By definition, startups are disrupting the status quo. Otherwise, how do they differentiate? This poses an intellectual challenge for the PR agency to figure out the communication assets at hand and how to credibly zag when everyone else zigs.

Open to creativity – Startups know the vast majority of their ilk don’t make it. They also recognize they’re not going to outspend the legacy players when it comes to building the brand and public profile. As a result, they’re open to clever tactics to stand out. I think it’s also fair to say that most appreciate the power of compelling language:

“Amazon is the Kodak of the cloud. I don’t want to dump on Amazon, but I just don’t think you can look to a book seller and grocery store for cloud innovation.” (Joyent in Venturebeat)

You’re not going to see the likes of Microsoft or Oracle mimicking this home page:

tinsly

Direct pipeline to senior execs – Because communications plays such a critical role in the success or failure of a startup, you’re often interacting with the CEO and the management team. While the intensity can take some getting used to, there’s something to be said for making your case directly to the person leading the charge.

Witness the difference – By driving the communications of a startup from ground zero, the results are crystal clear. It’s incredibly satisfying for the team to see first-hand how their decisions, actions and wins make a difference for the client. I discussed this very point in regards to SuVolta last week.

If you think I missed a benefit that belongs in the top five, by all means share it.

Perhaps the list should be longer.


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