Last week, Inc. Magazine hosted its annual conference in the spirit of its list of “Fastest Growing Companies.” I’m proud to have clients on this list who have taken the financial “bull by the horns” and boosted their profit in a downward economy. Although I’ve grown my company, it hasn’t been to the lengths of these organizations, so I certainly tip my hat to them.
What’s more, in the last month I’ve started working with clients who have also grown their business, and in one instance sustained growth over many decades. Another feat I hope to accomplish.
Many clients point to “growth” as a story they would like the media to tell. Although I’m not a reporter, I’ve learned that growing your business is not enough for front page news. Reporters do care about job creation and growth. However since many brands can say they have grown, what compelling angle can PR professionals tell the media when we see a brand that has grown to get coverage? What angles about a company’s growth will inspire a media’s audience? A “growing list” (pardon the pun) of PR hooks in this vein includes:
1. How has an executive grown the business?
Whether it’s been smart strategies or impactful hires, the media may want to know the tricks of the trade behind the growth.
2. Why has the company grown?Has it grown due to demand, a shift in the marketplace, a change in experiences, etc.?
Companies can grow for a myriad of reasons such as internal measures like new leadership, diversification of a brand’s portfolio or external activities like the launch of a specialized service or targeting a new audience. Determining if the growth can be attributed to internal or external factors can be a spring board for a larger story about the company, the industry or the marketplace.
3. What can the company’s growth tell us about trends in the marketplace?
A company’s growth can be indicative of trends in the industry or consumer behavior that can speak to larger economic interests. Does a company’s growth say that more consumers are using a digital experience? For example, the growth of the wine festival called “Wine Riot” can speak to the growing popularity of wine with young audiences.
4. What challenges and lessons has a company learned from growth?
Growing pains are real and they can be seen in the spirit of staffing challenges, real estate troubles and keeping up with the changing tides. These “good problems to have”, and how a company has worked through them can paint a positive light with the company yet still tell “news you can use.”
5. What’s next?
Most companies in motion stay in motion. When a company has a positive trend of growth, what does the future hold? This question may be a tough one to answer without giving a leg up to the competition. However, broad strokes of “what’s next” are future-making statements that could pique the media’s interest.
In sum, when looking at a company’s growth as a story angle, unveil the curtains a bit more to find insight behind the upward spike.
About Kimberly Eberl
Prior to establishing leading Chicago Public Relations Agency, Motion PR, Kimberly worked at Ogilvy PR where she developed strategies and executed brand-building PR campaigns for SAM’S CLUB, Johnsonville Sausage and Lipton brands. As media relations manager for www.cars.com, she generated an historic amount of media placements in the national spotlight.
Most of her experience, though, comes from Weber Shandwick Worldwide, where she was responsible for strategic development, client relations and media relations in the consumer marketing group. She helped in strategic planning, project management and media relations for SC Johnson brands, Georgia-Pacific’s Angel Soft and Quilted Northern brands, the national Got Milk? campaign’s grassroots mobile marketing tours and more.