Despite A Rough And Tumble Economy, New Enterprises Continue To Be Born

Have you heard of The OutCast Agency, a PR firm in San Francisco? No? Then you’re not with a start-up technology concern from The Valley.

According to The Wall Street Journal, each month OutCast sees 50 to 75 companies seeking its services, up 50% from last year. “We can’t take on 98% of the business that knocks on the door,” agency partner Reema Bahnasy said.

While the job market in much of the U.S. remains weak, Web start-ups keen to establish their brands and to grab media exposure are driving a surge in business at Bay Area public-relations companies. Many firms say they are hiring.

Kay Luo, a former LinkedIn Corp. executive who last August began providing public-relations consulting gets multiple requests a week from start-ups seeking her assistance. Ms. Luo said she has begun taking equity stakes in start-ups that she works with, effectively “becoming an angel investor in the companies that I advise.”

The Journal makes no mention of these same start-ups turning to brand identity firms, ad agencies, content marketers or the like, but there’s unquestionably a need there, as well, and I don’t think the need is localized in Northern California.

I’d like to hear from you about taking on start-ups as clients. Not just in hi-tech, but in all fields. It can be a real high wire act to build a brand from the ground up, so please, tell us a story and show us how you did it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.