As a startup angel investor, it's always refreshing to meet a team of co-founders who firmly believe that through demonstrating the power of their value to customers, the strength of their business model and their ability to build a cohesive team and robust foundations, not only will they delight their customers, but also quickly move to a position of cash flow positive and sustainability. Meet Belgian PR-software company Prezly, who is clearly on a solid international track. Having established operational bases in the rest of Europe, North America, Australia and Brazil, it has now advanced into Hong Kong to conquer the Asian market. And with the onboarding of the airline company Cathay Pacific, it has already secured a global footprint.From AB InBev to Toyota
In less than ten years, the Belgian scale-up – which is still 100% owned by its original founders – 3 developers who invented Prezly to solve a problem - has developed into a major player with a global footprint. Today they have clients from virtually every sector, all over the world: AB InBev, Australian Broadcasting Company, AXA, Brussels Airlines, Oakley, Emirates Airlines, Estée Lauder, IKEA, Lidl, KBC, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oakley, Samsung, Sennheiser, Telenet, Toyota …
With Prezly, PR and communication teams are easily able to share their brand’s or organization’s story with journalists and influencers, as well as with internal employees and other stakeholders. The platform integrates the best of an online newsroom, a CRM, e-mailing and file-sharing into one practical online tool. For many communication professionals, it has become an indispensable work tool that they use every day. In an increasingly complex world of communication, Prezly makes it simple for large companies and organizations to share their stories with journalists, bloggers, employees and other stakeholders. Since its founding year, 2008, the Belgian technology company with headquarters in Leuven has grown into a major player with a worldwide client portfolio.
And while their competition, commoditizes and reduces service levels, Prezly continues to grow its service footprint and has increased its international presence significantly by placing sales and support employees in different European countries, the US, Australia, Brazil and now in Hong Kong. As of this year, more than 50% of its revenue comes from abroad and Prezly is now active in 32 different countries.Enormous growth potential
The global public relations (PR) tools market is estimated to reach USD 12.99 billion by 2024.
Since the advent of social media, users have seen a considerable change in the public relations landscape as it has taken the center stage in the marketing activities of organizations. There has been increasing efforts at quantifying the impact of public relations and the return on investments in the related activities. The emergence of digital communication and social media is also contributing to the increased demand for tracking and monitoring the activities of organizations and customers on these media platforms, thus culminating into a widespread demand for the tools and techniques to keep a tab on the ROI of specific PR activities.
PR professionals are now leveraging traditional customer engagement strategies to more effectively identify, attract and engage stakeholders to ensure an ongoing social and legal license to operate. These efforts are driving the growing trend of using a diverse set of tools in the industry. These techniques include the use of big data, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. The advent of digital media has also brought in new stakeholders in the PR industry, such as bloggers, influencers, and third-party platform providers, who need to be wooed to ensure the smooth creation and distribution of organization news.
The PR tools industry is witnessing a steady rise in the demand for tools based on analytics and aggregation to better understand the current trends and predict the behavior of stakeholders. Driven by the requirements from diverse industries ranging from retail and consumer goods to the information technology and healthcare industries, the market for PR tools is anticipated to see a considerable growth. The PR tools provide a wide range of capabilities from content creation and aggregation to the distribution of organization stories and automated report generation. In addition, the need for integrated marketing communications and the ability to reach a niche market segment are also helping the PR tools industry grow.
It has always been our ambition to be a global player. But, of course it is a wonderful boost for the whole team to see that our efforts are really paying off and that we are participating at the highest level, not only in Belgium, but also in the US, the Middle East, Australia and Asia,” Jesse Wynants, co-founder of Prezly.Asian high-flyer
Until now, the Belgian technology firm has had little presence in Asia, but thanks to the new operational base in Hong Kong, this is about the change. From this city, it hopes to establish a connection to the Chinese mainland. And even before the actual rollout, the first important contract is already in place: Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific works with Prezly to publish and share multimedia stories with the press and influencers. The newsroom of the Asian airline giant (https://news.cathaypacific.com/) has successfully been launched and runs completely on software that is “made in Belgium”, but with an Asian flavour for the Hong Kong home carrier. Fittingly, Cathay Pacific will launch a new four-times-weekly service between Brussels and Hong Kong from 28 March 2018.
Prezly’s international growth has brought about several new recruits. At the end of this year, the team will have twenty employees, spread all over the world.Smart features
There has been significant consolidation in the PR software market over the years forcing many to focus on cheap prices and acquisition as the only way to deliver the technical roadmap necessary to support customers in adapting to a 24 hour news cycle and the speed of global social media.
Augure acquired Adequate, iMente and Wisemetrics, only to finally merge with FashionGPS and become LaunchMetrics. Cision acquired Argus de Press, Gorkana, Visible Technologies, Bulletin Intelligence and ViralHeat ready for IPO and Meltwater is a combination of 12 different companies!
Instead, Prezly, true to its design core, has focused on expanding its services to meet the needs of its lead users and through innovation, grow its customer base. Moreover, the growth potential is still enormous. Because content marketing and earned media have become increasingly successful everywhere due to the fact that the classic advertising approach of buying attention simply no longer works. Ad blockers are more and more popular and consumers now place most of their trust in their own network and external experts such as journalists and bloggers. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies and brands to manage all the extra content and contacts. At Prezly they have a unique solution.
In the past years, we’ve focused mostly on the basics: a stable, fast and user-friendly tool that saves our users time. Now we are focused on “smart” features, such as automatically enriching contacts and continuously scaling the relationship with a stakeholder. These “smart” features help communication teams to communicate in a personalized way, which almost always proves beneficial when it comes to results. Gijs Nellison, CofounderMore info www.prezly.com.