Tuesday, July 29, 2014

1871, Burson-Marsteller to work with startups on public relations strategies

1871, Burson-Marsteller to work with startups on public relations strategies

Howard Tullman, CEO of Chicago tech hub 1871, wants his startups to become more public relations savvy.

Reporter-Chicago Business Journal
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Howard Tullman, the executive with the drill sergeant frame of mind who took the reins in late 2013 at Chicago tech incubator 1871 has decided his recruits need to be more PR savvy, even as Tullman begins to shut down as many as 20 underperforming startups at the tech hub.
Today 1871 CEO Tullman said he has inked a partnership with the Chicago office of the global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller to create and host a series of workshops to help entrepreneurs develop communications and PR strategies.
Noted Tullman of the new partnership: "1871's primary focus is on helping entrepreneurs develop successful businesses. We are excited for Burson-Marsteller to bring its public relations expertise to the 1871 community."
The training programs will be handled through B-M's Burson Lift unit, which provides communications counsel for emerging and growth companies. The training designed for 1871 startups will focus on message development, challenging marketplace assumptions, storytelling and communication tactics for an evolving media landscape.
Added Erica Swerdlow, B-M's executive vice president in Chicago: "Determining a communications strategy is a necessary part of any company's business plan, but it is critical to ensure it happens at the right time in the development lifecycle."
The partnership with B-M is one of the first examples of Tullman's and 1871's new strategy to provide so-called sequential education programming to the 1871 community that will extend over a period of time and build from session to session.
In 2013, 1871 provided more than 4,500 hours of one-on-one mentoring to its members and produced over 650 events, workshops and working educational sessions.
Separately, in an interview Tullman said he has begun the process of identifying the startups at 1871 that aren't performing up to 1871's expectations.
The 1871 CEO said he expects about 20 of the 270 startups now in residence at 1871 to be dismantled in the coming months.
But the staff involved in those shuttered companies won't necessarily leave 1871, Tullman indicated. Rather, they may join other startups for whom the future looks more promising.
Still, with the expanded space 1871 will occupy in coming weeks at the Merchandise Mart, Tullman said he expects more startups to join the tech hub fold soon, with some 400 total startups in residence by the end of the year, Tullman predicted.

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