There is no denying the San Francisco Bay Area is buzzing with excitement about technology and innovation, which is giving some long-time residents 90s tech boom deja vu. These days, you can hardly wait for a MUNI bus without overhearing fellow San Franciscans lamenting lack of funding for their start-ups. When your bus does come, it's plastered with advertisements reminding you of the upcoming must-attend tech event.
The expanding energy around emerging technologies and start-ups has transformed the atmosphere of the city; it's an exciting time to be a young public relations professional in San Francisco.
I've been working for Burson-Marsteller for two and a half years. During the first year of my tenure, I worked in Burson's Boston office. Although Boston does boast many IT companies and start-ups, San Francisco and the Bay Area are in their own category for technology innovation.
When I moved back to San Francisco, I was really impressed by the re-energized San Francisco start-up culture and scene. Working in Burson's office in the SOMA (South of Market) district is thrilling because of the vast number of start-ups that are headquartered in the area and across the city. There are so many opportunities for PR professionals to network with people who are truly passionate about the innovative ideas that they want to share with the world.
The Bay Area has been booming with technology since the early days of Silicon Valley, but there has been a noticeable shift as of late as more established and up-and-coming companies like Twitter are moving into the city rather than setting up their headquarters south of San Francisco in the traditional Silicon Valley territory.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the several founders of Bay Area start-ups across a variety of industries, and it has become clear to me that while start-ups understand the importance of PR, they do not necessarily understand the appropriate time to leverage PR for the launch of a product or service. At the same time, many start-ups do not clearly understand the important role a public relations campaign can play in defining a brand's overall identity.
This presents a huge opportunity for the next generation of tech-savvy PR professionals to network with and educate the IT leaders of tomorrow to inform them about the value of PR and help tell their stories in a positive light. The ideas are out there, but without a strategic PR plan, many innovative ideas that can potentially change the world will be left to waste. Bay Area-based PR professionals can draw on their PR experience as well as the information they've gleaned through living in this area and translate that into savvy insights that we can provide our clients to help turn start-ups into business successes.
In today's global economy, the need for PR is abundant, and innovative technology ideas are being developed in every nation. The Bay Area will continue to play a key role as the go-to destination or Mecca of where new ideas and personalities come to find success.
Before you know it, the tiny start-up down the street will be the next technology sensation!
Chris Blake is client executive in Burson-Marsteller's technology practice and fan experience specialty.