When the going gets tough….public relations in difficult times

Posted by Ilya Scott on 31/05/2011

The British Chamber of Commerce published a report this week indicating  the economic recovery might not be just around the corner. 

I understand why it’s everyone’s first instinct in tough times is to shrink into their metaphorical shells and stop communicating with the outside world. The temptation is to direct all of our energy internally on cutting overheads which may include jobs and dealing with the fall-out that causes.

fear turtle hiding in shell fear turtle hiding in shell

However, as we all know, business rewards the brave. Past recessions have shown that the time to raise your profile is when your competitors are licking their wounds.

To start with, there is a vacuum of good news and there are greater opportunities if you have a positive story to tell.

Another reason why a focus on PR in tough times is that potential customers may not be open to overt selling techniques such as advertising but with PR, the message is more subtle and may well infiltrate a “no-spend” mentality. 

PR and marketing companies are suffering as well and you are likely to get a good return for a lower level of investment but be realistic and negotiate a fair price which will work for both parties. Similarly there are likely to be good sponsorship and exhibition deals to be done.

However we also need to beware of falling into the trap of thinking online PR activity is “free”. Whether it’s resourced in-house or externally, being effective on or offline is resource intensive.

There is the potential to make a greater impact during the tough times when your competitors have withdrawn but it takes a positive attitude and an ability to spot the opportunities.


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