Get your early-stage startup noticed

Alexander Brown - Senior Communications Consultant - Getyour early stage startup noticed

Guest blog from Alexander Brown, Communications Director at Consultancy32

For any business, getting noticed and remembered for the right things is important.  For an early-stage firm, it can be existential.   The ability to cut through and stand out and be recalled by potential clients, talent and, crucially, investors can be the difference between success and failure.

So here is the bad news: However brilliant your idea and business is, your audience has never been less inclined to notice you.  It’s not about you – it’s the digital revolution and the content tsunami it has unleashed.   No generation before has had to deal with so much data.  There are a lot of stats out there about this, but here is a good one – it’s estimated that in the 15th century a typical human probably engaged with as much data in a lifetime as is presented to us today in a Sunday newspaper.   With our brains dealing with an average 10 megabytes a day its unsurprising that, to stay sane, all of us have become ruthlessly selective about what we choose to notice and engage with. 

But there are ways of communicating that can help you beat this and cut through:

Messaging matters

Given the data overload they deal with your audience will, if you are lucky, remember just three or four things about your business.   So, work with that.  Whether you are preparing a pitch, post, advert, interview or investor presentation, identify the ideas that you need audiences to recall about why your offering is different and better and ensure those messages are reinforced.  Incidentally, as an Insurtech firm the temptation will be to assume you don’t have to worry about this because your audience will be sophisticated.   Sadly, even in investment presentations to the top banks audiences take about 120 seconds (max) to decide whether they are interested in learning more.  So, get in fast and early with your key messages and make it engaging.

Stories stick

As human beings we are hard wired to recall and pass on information as a story.  Anthropologists and the recent hit book Sapiens point out that in every emerging civilisation the organisations (religions) with the best stories that explained the world accrued the most power.  Today, neurological research shows that we still look for a story to make sense of information.  A good, relatable story about you and why you created your business and the impact it creates will get you noticed and be remembered far more than your best data, stats and proof points.

Get relevant

Always think about your target audience and what they care about – if you package your communications in terms that speak credibly about addressing their concerns and aspirations you will get noticed – and if you don’t you won’t.

Be bold

You probably created your company to address a shortcoming in the industry – own it.  But at the same time be careful – for example a journalist will pounce if you criticise firms or organizations by name and that seldom ends well.

Have a brand

There are volumes written about what a brand is, but it can be usefully boiled down to the sum of the emotional and functional benefits to an audience of working with your business.  If you are clear about what that is and consistently represent that visually and verbally you have a far better chance of getting noticed.    And bear in mind that the emotional appeal of your brand is what makes the difference.  The limbic brain drives decision making – humans make emotional decisions and then justify them rationally afterwards (not the other way around.)   The way a business makes us feel is vital to getting noticed and getting the outcomes we want.

Get trained

It’s a cliché but the message is only as good as the medium.   Highly experienced interviewees like heads of state, FTSE 100 CEOs and celebrities get themselves trained and retrained to communicate effectively – there is a reason for that.

Finally, at the risk of being predictable, get an experienced communications advisor if you possibly can.   The points made above are easy to talk about and often rather harder to do.  In reality, in any communication that matters there are myriad nuances that can mean the difference between being on message and being obsessive, cutting through by being bold and saying something that will get you in trouble.   Traditional media and social media can be extraordinarily powerful ways of elevating your brand and getting you noticed and remembered.   Working with an adviser is the best way of ensuring that is for the right things. 

A note from Insurtech Gateway

Thank you so much for sharing your experience Alex. We heard about you working your magic first hand from Tristan Fletcher, Founder and CEO at ChAI.

“Alex Brown and Zoe de Lantsheere at Consultancy32 are an exceptional team.  Fun to work with and responsive their advice has always been spot on and the results they generate are extraordinary.  In terms of getting us noticed at the highest levels – having had almost no media profile at all within weeks of engaging them we were meeting groups of journalists at the FT and Wall Street Journal and being quoted in internationals and nationals.  I’d recommend them in a heartbeat.”

To chat about getting your business noticed get in touch with Alex –

At Insurtech Gateway we are always eager to meet founders with a big ideas. If you have founded a pre-seed or seed insurtech, we have the experience and the tools to help you launch and scale faster. Check out our incubator and venture fund or get in touch