Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sequoia’s Right: Just Make Sure You Know All of what they Said about Communications

There is much being made these days about Sequoia Capital’s meeting with portfolio companies where they said “RIP: Good Times.” In short, they have told portfolio companies to tighten their belts, be realistic about their businesses, and hunker down for the long term. Turns out, Sequoia hasn’t been alone in these warnings. We are hearing that most investors are giving their portfolio companies similar messages.

But Sequoia also said some very interesting things about communications. According to GigaOm, Doug Leone made a number of key points:

Go on the offensive and pound on your competitors’ shortcomings.
• Be aggressive with your messaging and be out there. In a downturn, aggressive PR and communications strategy is key.

This is certainly a version of the old adage: “He who wins in a down market wins.” Therefore, our advice is:

• Take the advice of your investors – most of whom are going to tell you to lengthen your runway as much as possible; and
• Seize the moment by capturing undefended ground during this downturn.

So how does a company use communications to do this?

• Be clear, articulate, and consistent about your differentiation;
• Be clear, articulate, and consistent about your benefits – near term and long term;
• Speak often to your key markets and influencers;
• Be specific and real. Help your customers and their influencers understand how you are better and the benefits you bring;
• Use the transparency of communications today to make sure this communications gets to all of your audiences.
• Don’t stop talking!

We know that you may be wondering how you can both extend your runway and increase your communications.

We intend to create a series of blog posts to address the issues enumerated above. But, if you want to discuss these, call us.

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