What Happens Between IP and PR


Lately, we’ve been talking to a lot of folks who work with cleantech startups on a daily basis—incubators, labs, universities, economic development groups and others who provide valuable services to fledgling enterprises. And we see that when it comes to marketing, cleantech startups have more in common with their startup peers in other industries than they do with more established cleantech companies.

With more money, more people and more history behind them, midsize and large enterprises tend to have a clear idea of what they need when, and a clear understanding of the business value of a sound positioning and messaging strategy. Startups, on the other hand, typically don’t have a positioning and messaging strategy, don’t know why they need one, or don’t know what one is. Instead, they go straight from a laser-like focus on perfecting their technology to an equally intense focus on promoting it (once they get the requisite funds). In other words, they go straight from IP to PR. One day they’re submitting grant applications, and the next they’re looking for a website developer and a PR agency. Often, this is when they talk to us. And it’s when we start asking questions they may not have answers to.

If you’re a cleantech entrepreneur, ask yourself:

  • Do you have a segmentation and targeting strategy?
  • Do you have an effective positioning strategy?
  • Do you have a rational messaging hierarchy?
  • Do you have a distinctive brand voice?

If you do, you’re in better shape than 80% of the cleantech startups we talk to in any given year. You’ve got the strategy horse in front of the tactics cart. Go ahead and write that press release, publish that website, produce that video and design that sales presentation. But if you don’t, if you can’t answer these questions in the affirmative—or don’t know why they’re the right questions to ask in the first place—it’s time to do some homework. Give us a call. We can help.

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