With many brands and businesses taking a hit over the last few months, we decided to call on the knowledge and advice from a trusted name in the business, Sarah Cichy founder of Piccolo PR. With the unprecedented changes to life as we know it, there is no doubt that many small businesses are contemplating the best way to navigate the new normal. Sarah shares some words of wisdom and her Top 5 Tips for anyone starting out or wanting to DIY their own PR during these challenging times.
WHO IS PICCOLO PR? PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED!
“We build brands through storytelling and digital media. We live for strategy- it’s our first love. Your brand narrative – your code – this will help separate you from your competitors. Because, in order to become iconic you need to be distinctive.
The genesis of our story – the reason we exist – is simple. We are here to make you relevant. We get close to the people behind the brand to find the reason why the brand exists. The first step to creating a brand identity is to find the story behind your business. We build awareness and credibility for businesses to grow.
I’ve been growing businesses, brands and reputations through strategic Marketing and PR for over ten years now and represented local and international brands. The agency is very much known for our specialisation in the kids and interiors sector. I decided to go into business because I couldn’t stand the idea of “what if”. I was fiercely determined and completely naïve and so I backed myself and jumped in.”
WHAT ARE YOUR BRAND’S PHILOSOPHIES AND VALUES?
“True to our work. True to your story.”
WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?
“We share stories. And grow brands.”
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES OF OWNING A BUSINESS?
“There are a lot of tough moments when owning your own business. The current situation is sobering- it’s testing our kindness, leadership, resilience and commitment. Brands who are ‘essential’ such a food and health wellbeing categories are retaining PR services, however those in fashion and luxury are scarce. We are fortunate to have clients who remain supportive and consistent with the brand.
Right now, our primary job is to remain positive and help our clients prepare and protect themselves, think smart and think ahead. Because the better we plan, the better chance their business will survive. Keeping team morale is vital, particularly during these times. Most recently we have introduced House party and WhatsApp to stay connected throughout the day and keep the lines of communication open and flowing
Starting a business is a big achievement, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. The most integral thing to any business is the culture you create to ensure employees maintain morale, are enthusiastic and remain challenged. What’s more, I learnt the hard way that owning your own business you need to be across everything- every document and department. It’s all in the detail and, if you’re not, you will fail, fast.”
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR BUSINESS?
“I love pretty much everything about being a businesswoman. I love the creativity, responsibility and the independence. And at the end of the day, I love when it all comes together, and my vision comes to life. I am always learning and regardless of what happens, I know each day I back myself. Most of all, I love building and driving a strategy that creates brand awareness and commercial success for my clients.”
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS!
(Instagram) Favourite scroll stopper: Amy Gerard
(Design style) Less is more or more is more: Less is more, for sure!
(Netflix/TV) Can’t switch off: MAFS (don’t judge me!)
(Mindfulness) Quote that best sums you up: “I haven’t come this far, to only come this far.”
Piccolo PR shares their top 5 tips for small business
STRATEGY IS CRITICAL. PARTICULARLY DURING THIS TIME OF NEED.
“Understand where you want to go and map out a way of how you are going to get there. We’re working with clients to review their strategy and news angles to ensure we don’t approach media with irrelevant pitches that consumers don’t have money for.”
YOUR STORY IS YOUR CURRENCY
“In order to become iconic, you need to be distinctive. Before there were emojis, posts, shares and likes; people shared ideas through the tradition of storytelling. Humans are hardwired to remember stories as every person on this planet comes from a lineage of storytellers. Using social proof alongside storytelling creates an emotional connection, depth, inspires motivation and creates empathy.”
PAUSE AND REFLECT
“Strategy means knowing when to stay silent just as much as it means knowing what to post and publicise. Employers need to have tough conversations with clients to ensure your crisis management strategy is up to date. Business is not as usual. It’s important to run through potential scenarios and make sure key team members are aware of the role they will play in case you need to activate the plan.”
UNDER THE INFLUENCE
“With more Australians turning to e-commerce, the consumption of social media content has increased. Connecting with influencers to create engaging content is an effective method for brands to maintain connections with their consumers during a time when there is considerable attention. It is imperative to maintain a strong brand and digital presence to uphold consumer loyalty in this time of uncertainty.”
TAKE YOUR TIME TO TARGET
“Piccolo PR implements strategic collaborations that connects brands with new virtual friends. Don’t be afraid to request insights and engagement stats to ensure the influencers you have shortlisted to sponsor or seed product to maintain high conversion rates with their community.
Protect your reputation – both online and offline. We cannot deny the reality that we have entered unprecedented times which presents significant health challenges and uncertainty for many business owners.”