Everyone seems to know the term public relations (PR), but not everyone understands what it means. Though many Insurtech organisations understand that PR is a great way to build their marketing approach and upgrade their online reputation, very few know much about what PR involves, or why companies invest so much of their time and efforts to stay at top of the stack.
Public relation is about sharing the right information to right places – no matter their size or sector.
The Insurtech Industry has emerged as one of the key players in the Australian start-up sector and it has garnered immense investment and interest. In the two years, I have spent working in the Insurtech Industry, I have learnt as much as I have advised and taught. The weight of change and impact that Insurtech is having on the traditional insurance industry has opened my eyes to the Public Relations industry and inspired me to view it differently and assess whether our craft and our approach, which is set very much in the era of the traditional insurance industry is in fact keeping up and delivering to the climate and eco-system we operate. Could we equally do it better, and differently?
Why do you need a PR Professional for your Insurtech Company?
Currently, we are living in a data-driven and fast media world. If something doesn’t appeal to audiences, they will move to the next piece of content. But equally, this fast-paced world and huge volumes of data make it imperative for businesses to invest their time and resources on establishing their positioning and reputation. The Insurtech Industry is growing by leaps and bounds and the opportunity or success increases significantly when your business outlook is being handled by a strategic PR professional.
A PR Professional will help you to develop a strategy that is aligned with your key business objectives, the industry climate to position effectively, be seen and heard by the right people while ensuring they are receiving the messages you need and want to be projecting.
A need for an Innovative PR Agency – another industry primed for disruption
Likewise at a time when Insurtech is challenging the traditional insurance model, we too are facing a time in the Public Relations industry where the old ways and practices are not serving clients well and the industry is primed for disruption. From my time so far, I have found a growing reticence to the agency model and a PR Practitioner that works with a business from afar or at arm’s length. The industry has not caught up with the market in which it works and operates. With the fast-moving media and 24 hour news cycles, social media’s demand of content at every turn, a business can no longer have their needs met by the traditional PR agency format.
The Agency format has meant that companies or clients have lost contact and control of such an integral component of their operations and have often felt the retainer model was driven by the justification of an invoice of billable hours rather than a goal focussed scope of work that was imbedded and aligned with its business objectives. Likewise, however, to deliver quality on every level and to be innovating ahead of the PR pack, a specialist is still required. There are some key learnings I have made while working within the Insurtech industry and fundamental pillars that any founder can adapt for themselves.
Laying the Right Foundation
One of the first pillars of establishing an industry is to deliver a large education piece to the market and a wide range of stakeholders. For Insurtech, we also have to break through views and perceptions of the mainstream insurance industry, an industry that has battled with its own reputational challenges.
These shadow views however have created a climate that is primed for disruption, or some would say innovation. It is this opportunity upon which we have strategically capitalised. A tactic has been developing the narrative and the business storytelling and to then ensure the strategic positioning of these stories. There can be greater control over the narrative through the positioning in owned (blog or self-published) or alternative media sources. Once the foundation is laid then higher tier media can then add the wider exposure.
It is a competitive market and the storytelling needs to be strong and this is where support from an expert is key.
Fostering Relation with Investors
The relationship with the investor networks has been a carefully curated one. Investors need to have confidence in the founder as well as the business. Founders are who investors are trusting with their money. Founders need to demonstrate that they know their business, its strength’s weakness’s, competitors, and the market that it is operating.
A founder’s profile needs to be established and positioned in strong industry networks to build credibility and strong alliances. There are a significant number of founders in the Insurtech industry from outside of insurance, this has its own set of challenges but likewise strategically this can become a strength. Much like the reputation of the mainstream insurance market, founders from outside of an industry can bring a greater level of disruption and innovation, this is further strengthened when they are supported through an industry-specific incubation program.
Likewise, the profile of an investor can impact a business. Investors will become part of the business’s community. An investor can become a business’s greatest advocate therefore education in the messaging needs to be strong – especially for tech-based companies where the point of difference or solution can be more challenging to explain. The investor community needs to bring along on the journey building confidence and industry loyalty.
A Carefully Curated Digital Media Strategy
Digital media creates a wonderful opportunity for business storytelling and controlling the narrative. It does however also create a magnifier affect where you cannot hide your flaws, you are held to account and another’s perception can become your reality. With careful curation and a practitioner who can align your business values and objectives with your business strategy, you can in fact maximise the PR process to ensure your business’s profile is a true reflection of your operations outputs and values.
The Way Forward
PR is an area that can change the future of your business. When used appropriately, PR can make a company – giving it the power to overcome almost any obstacle. PR is vital for any brand, and for numerous reasons. However, it is a professional service and must meet and be agile to the needs of its client. The Insurtech industry in Australia is on a wave of opportunity. So, where can you make a difference and stand out from numerous other startups and ecosystems? The answer is through a professional strategic PR approach. An industry specialist who is equally a specialist in your industry.