Nurture your network, PR tips for startups

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Yassir El Ismaili
Entrepreneurs had a workshop in an intimate setting. (Images via Kaymu)

When and how does one communicate the launch of a new project? This was the key question put to the entrepreneurs attending the first edition of the Kaymu Entrepreneurs Club workshop in Casablanca.

In partnership with StartupYourLife, the focus was on PR. With a panel entitled ‘Public Relations and Communication’ the idea was to educate the startups on how to hone their people skills when it came to promoting their projects.

The intimate setting of Le Carré Français saw industry experts such as Réda Essakalli, strategy manager at Mosaik Communications, Aissam Fathya, of media agency Kenzmédia, plus the entrepreneurs Yassir El Ismaili, CEO of Careem (formerly Taxiii), and Nabil Sebti, former manager of Mydeal.ma and founder of Nssnss.ma, all gather to answer the big question.

And what were their thoughts?

Set goals

Before starting any communication campaign, setting your goals in advance and setting your media target accordingly are a must.

Adapt your message according to the media outlet

Essakalli recommends focusing on media channels that reach your target and sending them updates tailored to their angle of approach.

To catch their attention, startups can innovate by telling their stories and providing content that stands apart from typical corporate strategy.

All communication material, or update, should tell the tale of an evolution, an influence, an impact, or a milestone, such as the participation in an event or a competition. And it should always be supported by figures.

Nurture your network

A startup’s public relations are not limited though to the media. According to El Ismaili, the first communication tool “is the entrepreneur himself and the relationship he has with his potential users.”

With a zero dirham communication budget and a Facebook page, Careem built its brand and its user base with the entrepreneur personally answering all the requests he received.

One should also not overlook the entrepreneur's entourage, an integral part of a startup lower-cost PR: “Your old classmates, former colleagues, friends, and family are a support network on which you must count and which you should transform into your brand’s ambassadors,” explained Fathya.

Create content

However, the panel’s two entrepreneurs insisted that content production remain the driving force behind a campaign. According to Sebti, one way to generate interest towards your startup is to express yourself through press releases or to speak out at events related - or not - to your enterprise’s activity: “Even if you do not mention at all the subject of your startup, your participation will attract readers and generate interest towards you and your enterprise.”

For Ali Lakrabi, founder of the smartphone multi-function remote control Airmote, it was an explanatory video about his product in spoken Arabic, that he made for friends, that brought him, much to his surprise, under the spotlight.

Patriotic enthusiasm then pushed the number of views on YouTube to 14,000.

Participate in conferences

According to Kenza Bennani, founder of the athlete community app Mysportner, and Ismail Bargach, cofounder of Lik, an app that allows you to receive free phone credits, participants of the Q&A session, it was their participation in international events that got them attention.

However, even if you are getting attention unprepared PR can be non-productive. “When we communicate, we must be able to give satisfactory answers not only to journalists, but also to the growing potential users; we should especially spend a lot of time on community management,” said El Ismaili. “When you are not prepared, you can find yourself overwhelmed by the events and that can have very negative consequences.”

Questions-réponses au Kaymu Entrepreneurship ClubThe Q&A session in full swing.


The first of many

An ecommerce platform backed by global giants Rocket Internet Kaymu is setting itself apart from other local startups. Leveraging its group knowledge they are hoping to help the Moroccan ecosystem grow.

Sevan Marian, Kaymu’s general manager told Wamda that he and his team, in founding the Club, wanted to “offer concrete educational content, in order to provide startups with the know-how and contacts necessary to boost their success.”

As well as a board for collecting ideas for topics of future workshops, the content of coming editions will be agreed upon collaboratively with their partner StartupYourLife.

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