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As the economic climate continues to fluctuate and uncertainty reigns supreme, all startup founders should be doing is ensuring their survival. In a recession, having solid financials isn’t enough – you need to be visible. Without effective visibility and publicity, even the most profitable and financially sound companies can struggle to capture the attention of potential investors.
In more prosperous times, startups were often able to capitalize on the market, as VCs are equal to capital. However, because funds are harder to come by, founders must actively look for ways to create a halo effect, induce FOMO (fear of missing out), and signal that they are a worthy investment.
Time and time again, visibility has been found to be linked to positive financial results and success. Many founders have asked me how to successfully and quickly generate visibility, and here are my tips.
Related: How to increase your online visibility and attract more customers
Build in public
Stay in touch with your community and keep them consistently updated on your progress. Leverage every single channel in your arsenal (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok where relevant) to create consistent excitement around revenue growth, notable achievements or milestones, and unique insights you’ve gained while building your business. Challenge yourself to post on all channels two to three times a week. Don’t choose between channels – in 2023 you should run them all. Consistency is key.
Don’t forget to highlight your team. Investors should be able to see behind every startup a strong, capable team, not just a leader. What I like most is the combination of seeing best practices, insights from team building and team celebrations along with transparent metrics that show the company’s direction.
Make a ‘David vs. Goliath’ story
Who is the incumbent in your industry? Challenging the market leader is a high reward strategy for generating visibility. By taking a contrary stance or disagreeing with industry giants, you can get a reaction from investors and other stakeholders and get them to pay attention. Harness the power of controversy to set yourself apart from the competition.
For example, You.com is an artificial intelligence search engine that has positioned itself to compete against Google and Microsoft in the current AI arms race and has received a lot of attention as a result. from Sam Altman contradictory tweet about the role of VC generated nearly two million views and attracted the attention of Vinod Khosla, Paul Graham, Alexis Ohanian and others. Elon Musk is marred by controversy every day, but the reality is that people care about his actions.
Collaborate with unexpected niche influencers
Instead of relying on traditional paid campaigns, which can be expensive and often have limited impact, you can partner with emerging artists and niche influencers to create more creative and engaging content. Louis Vuitton is a great example – the recent collaboration with artist Yayoi Kusama was both hugely successful and unexpected, combining the fashion house’s iconic LV logo with Kusama’s signature bright dots. Worn by celebrities, it enabled both brands to reach new audiences. I’m surprised tech brands don’t get into similar collaborations.
My advice is to find emerging artists and creatives relevant to your niche. Collaborate with them on a campaign or organize events, dinners and other experiences to showcase your business in an engaging way. I recommend most campaigns combine a strong collaboration with surprising but relevant influencers with a top media writing an exclusive.
Related: How to rocket your business to the top with thoughtful leadership and visibility
Focus on educating consumers
If you help consumers become smarter, they will never forget that. By helping your customers learn and grow, you can create a loyal community that organically spreads the word about your business on social media. Provide learning resources, organize workshops and create interactive experiences.
For example, Skye, a leadership coaching marketplace, recently hosted their Limitless Summit; speakers included the CEO of Myers Briggs, CEO of Handshake, Meta’s director of global L&D, VCs and executive coaches who delivered workshops on navigating conflict, cultivating culture at scale, the physiology of health and the well-being of the brain, building transformational companies and more. By educating consumers and thereby building a meaningful community with high stickiness, this has helped the company attract investors who are not only looking for financial returns, but also want to support companies that make a positive impact on the world .
Dress to impress — Go for an unexpected design
Go for unexpected design when it comes to outgoing materials, whether it’s your website, pitch deck, marketing materials, social media posts, and others. Specifically for investors, your pitch deck is often the first point of contact. In addition to a great team and promising traction, a visually striking and creatively designed deck and website are sometimes the deciding factors in whether I take a meeting.
Consider adding bold colors, interactive elements, and intuitive navigation to create an engaging user experience that reflects your brand’s personality. Remember that standing out in a recession is crucial and unexpected design can be the catalyst that attracts investors and customers.
Related: 7 Shortcuts to Build Early Visibility for Your Brand
Get out of your bubble
Host events and invite people from unexpectedly diverse backgrounds to participate in engaging discussions. Inviting speakers and attendees who are not normally part of your industry or network can create unexpected magic. It’s not as hard as you might think: imagine bringing artists, scientists, actors, photographers and lawyers together with technologists for a dynamic exchange of ideas and cross-fertilization of knowledge. This can lead to new opportunities for collaboration and growth and, most importantly, for inspiration and insights that you will be remembered for.