Last updated September 6th 2014
Israel is dominated by hi-tech, or at least that’s what the techies think. When Israelis with growing startups decide they’re at the stage of needing some PR exposure, they jump to certain conclusions:
- First, we need coverage in America.
- Second, we need American PR firms.
To a certain extent they’re right. PR in Israel is still a small, nascent industry. Many firms calls themselves international because they have one native English speaker. But other firms do exist that are manned by immigrants with extensive experience from abroad. One such firm is Bottom Line Consulting. Founder Rebecca Mandel is an American with fluency in French and Spanish and consummate European partner Viktoria Kanar speaks Russian, German, French and Spanish, both in addition to English and Hebrew.
“It’s a problem,” Viktoria told me. Startups here “think the results are outside.” When it’s time to partner with a PR firm, they say, “let’s go abroad and find it.” And then when it comes to where to spread the word, “startups want to jump into North America. They never consider Europe.”
Billing themselves as a consultancy firm, Bottom Line works closely with their clients on how PR fits into their marketing strategy. Want to contact them for representation? Sure, but make sure to tell them what stage your startup is in: pre-seed? First round of funding? Second? Sometimes PR isn’t needed yet. Israeli entrepreneurs, Viktoria said, “are such overachievers. They want to be on the front page of the New York Times yesterday. Part of our job is managing expectations.”
When PR is needed, Bottom Line staff sit with their new clients for a 3 hour positioning workshop where they together build a strategy that includes branding and messaging alongside the right media exposure. Bottom Line’s favorite work are the physical projects: “that’s what we love to do. Be unexpected by mixing and matching components. We help clients have an element of surprise by coming up with a different approach.” That’s what they did when Wizz launched it’s inaugural Tel Aviv flight: instead of the normal bells and whistles, they partnered with their other client fashion designer Frau Blau to have a midair fashion show. The added benefit is it builds customer loyalty.
Sometimes PR is needed for the opposite reason. Startups have jumped in to soon and now need damage control. “That PR is more difficult.”
Bottom Line’s clients are divided between 30% fashion & technology, 60% startups, and 10% cultural institutions like museums. 70% of those clients are Israeli and the rest are from France, Sweden, and elsewhere. “Our main strength is in fashion. We’ve worked more in traditional fashion, but the industry is merging with technology.” And Bottom Line wants to see that scene grow. “A lot of entrepreneurs have secured serious funding, but they just don’t have the tools yet to grow,” Viktoria said. “The Israeli fashion & tech scene isn’t strong enough.”
I’ve written about Bottom Line Consulting previously on this blog: http://startuptelaviv.co/2014/01/09/fashion-and-technology-startups-how-do-you-stand-out/.
Go ahead and visit Bottom Line Consulting’s website at http://www.bottoml.com/.