Tips for Emerging from Stealth Mode

Rocket sketch drawing with crumpled blue paper ball on chalkboard.

Stealth mode is a strategy often employed by high-tech or biotech companies in which their product or the entire company is grown in secrecy until a strategic milestone has been met. In highly competitive industries, stealth mode can be essential to establishing market dominance.

When your company or client has been operating in stealth mode, quietly developing their product for months, or even years, making the switch to publicity can be an exciting but challenging time.

When you are finally ready to announce your startup to the world, you might be tempted to jump into PR with the same strategies you would use to promote a well-established company. However, emerging technology companies have unique challenges – and opportunities – that should be considered for a successful PR and communications campaign.

Here are some top tactical strategies to consider:


Create focus with targeted communications

One of the exciting opportunities in working with a company emerging from stealth mode is that you have a clean slate of messaging and branding. Start your PR and communications strategy with a high-level view: which channels are you going to use for external communications and what goal will each serve? This way you can give each outlet a distinct purpose while crafting a cohesive voice and message.

Without old legacy content to contend with, your PR strategy can be laser-focused on meeting company goals and furthering the brand. What messaging do you want to share today and how will you showcase momentum and growth over the coming months and years? You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so spend the time before emerging from stealth mode to create a strategy that will serve the company's goals in the long term. 


Prioritize media training

Even if the startup’s leadership team has experience being interviewed by the media at other companies they’ve worked for, when coming out of stealth mode they won’t have any experience talking about the startup to reporters and editors.

Review potential expected questions coming out of stealth mode, as well as key messaging. Make sure key spokespeople can adjust the messaging and company story for each audience: technical journalists, business reporters, TV anchors, and so forth. In addition to the company story, spokespeople should be trained to tie it back into the industry at large and speak to competitors and related timely topics.


Embrace mystery without overselling hype

The cache of stealth mode can attract interest from major publications and top-tier journalists, in addition to potential investors and customers, but it's equally important not to over-hype the company. Embrace the allure of being able to give a preview of technology not yet publicly available to level up to top-tier publications, yet avoid overselling the tech since it is likely unproven in the industry. 


Coming out of stealth mode can be a daunting task, but it's also an exciting opportunity. By following these tips, you can set a startup up for success with a well-planned PR campaign.

Michelle Stansbury is CEO of Little Penguin PR. Follow her at [email protected].