One of the first things we do when working with a new client is figure out what they have to say. Traditionally, this has been referred to as “key messages,” or simply “your story.” This includes seemingly simple things like:
- when were you founded;
- why did you start the company;
- what benefit do you provide to potential customers;
- how are you different from competitors; and
- who started the company.
It’s the last one that seems to be an issue with a company called Bonobos that recently raised quite a bit of outside funding to help them market and sell their clothing line for men. In an article on TechCrunch, Sarah Lacy wrote about the company, their products and their funding. It was her follow-up article the next day entitled, “Note to Estranged Co-Founders; Settle Your Baggage First, Pitch Reporters Second,” that got my attention.
As part of her interview, Lacy says she asked, “Is there anything else I should know?” The “anything” was apparently that the other co-founder who was not part of the interview was gone and had started another company. Now, there’s also an article in the NY Times, that seems to include this other co-founder, at least briefly in the article and in an accompanying picture.
This may be a lot of flutter about nothing. It’s not uncommon for a company with multiple founders to have at least one founder leave during the growth of the company, but at the very least it seems that these two founders weren’t on the same page about who was saying what. So, if your new PR firm keeps pushing on seemingly uncomfortable questions during prep for talking with the media, trust me, they have a reason for doing it. You would much rather have them ask the hard questions first, so when a reporter asks those same hard questions, you know what you should be saying.