PR in a Recession
Switch on the news, scan the papers, scroll online – if you dare. There’s no doubt about it, there’s a fair bit of doom and gloom kicking about right now, and it’s going nowhere fast.
As much as there’s some positive, uplifting stuff, bad news provides great content for journalists.
However, it also exacerbates the fear and stress faced by many of us right now and, similar to that feeling of dread experienced during the peak of Covid-19 (for some, this is far worse), it leads some businesses to react with knee-jerk, ill-informed decisions.
Solely focused on their core business, it might be tempting to save a few thousand pounds per year by cutting back on PR, whether it’s press and media work, blogging, e-newsletters, decent photography or other content.
“That’s an extra we can’t afford …let’s just get on with the day-to-day”, they might think.
Whether we’re facing a recession or a booming economy, PR does the same thing. A strategic process rather than a quick fix (“can we have a press release, please?”), your PR drive should be based on the long-term view of your business and your target audiences. It shouldn’t end because times are tough.
What’s more, your audience is looking for a voice they can trust in times like these. And who better to create and disseminate your company’s message than your PR?
In a recession, you need to build your image and reputation more than ever, continue communicating with your audiences and work harder at finding new ones. In short, lean into your PR, don’t push it away.
Of course, the cynics amongst you might say, “Claire – you would say that. This is your livelihood!” But why am I saying it? To me, it’s clear.
Out of sight, out of mind
The simple truth is that people won’t buy from your company if they no longer see or hear from you.
People won’t donate or support your charity if it goes quiet. They’ll forget about your cause and embrace another.
Funders might not invest in you if they Google your social enterprise and haven’t seen any online content for six months! Do you still exist?
People won’t attend your event if its profile makes it invisible.
No-one will persist with your website if it’s constantly ‘under construction’.
And then what will happen? I think you know.
Refresh your strategy
Instead of cutting your PR agency, talk to them. Take a fresh look at your strategy, and change it.
Do you need to focus on a particular market, a new audience, or a new geographic area? Do you need to show your ‘human’ side more? What are your priorities? Are you struggling to find staff? Do your core comms messages need to change to reflect a new direction?
Look to your PR for their knowledge and expertise to help you change your focus. This can be especially important when other companies dilute or withdraw their PR efforts. Credible, professional PR experts are adaptable; they’re always reacting. It’s their skill. So work with them, share your concerns, tell them where the pressures are and adjust your PR action plan accordingly.
As much as it’s tempting, try and avoid panic or crisis mode when it comes to cutting costs. Think longer term.
It may feel strange to keep your PR consultant or digital media whizz on the books when your accountant suggests you cut costs, but you must move forward and explore new opportunities and openings. Don’t stagnate.
Whether you’re one year or 50 years on, don’t blindly assume your business will always be here. Go dark with your comms and go under.
Continue building your brand and company image, shout your successes, maintain that trust, and you’ll ride the wave.
To chat about where you go from here, please call me on 07912 324 264 or email email@example.com.