A working, viable business model today revolves around company image. Whether the company takes a personal tack or creates an exciting and vibrant social media presence through an interactive website filled with really interesting content, a truly business-savvy start-up will recognize that the more they embrace these modern communication tactics, the more business they will receive. Some of today’s best start-ups understand this concept and fabricate an image of knowledge and skill that is the envy of companies everywhere.
The biggest companies in the technology sector today—from eBay to Facebook to Google—began as tiny start-ups with less than five or ten employees. From the beginning, they thrived on a model that emphasized creativity and innovation and steered clear of the lackluster, traditional approach, and embraced what they excelled.
Even though Google has since grown into a billion-dollar business that has changed the world in myriads of ways, its employees still race through the office on scooters, program from a perch on bean bags, and project an image of geeky cool, rather than software giant. The story of the start-up Mojang AB, a Swedish game company, demonstrates the value of new media. Their flagship game, Minecraft–which has yet to have an official release and has already sold over ten million units–began as the work of one man, Markus Persson. By gathering a following through Twitter, his personal blog, and various tech blogs and websites, Persson managed to turn his hobby business into a full-time start-up.
Starbucks, now one of the biggest beverage companies worldwide, was also a start-up, if you can imagine that. When marketing tactics began to change, Starbucks made sure to cover all the social media outlets– Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But Starbucks also has two other innovative social media outlets that are unique to them as a company: “My Starbucks Idea” and their blog, “Ideas in Action.” Both of these allow for customers to make suggestions for improvement, jump in on discussions, view promotions and coupons, and most importantly, witness Starbucks’ responses to suggestions made by every day, normal people. Since social media is all about engagement and interaction, these strategies have created a loyal fan-base because of their eagerness to hear concerns, improvements and suggestions from their customers.
While not every start-up experiences the jaw-dropping success of Mojang, Google or Starbucks, every entrepreneur can learn from the lessons they teach. Online public relations can make or break a business, and the formulation of a strong image can create the perfect springboard for the next great start-up.