In times of economic downturn and crisis, brands traditionally invest more heavily in affordable PR & Comms to maintain visibility and customer engagement. Today we can’t escape the predictions of a gathering economic storm as reports released by the CBI show that the UK economy contracted by 0.3% in April 2022. Whilst many of us have seen off previous recessions and more recently the impact of Covid, then this next economic cloud is likely to soak us in a lot more misery.
So, with purse strings tightening everywhere, here are some thoughts on the areas we as PR & Comms experts advise you to prioritise to secure ongoing engagement:
- Internal comms, to ensure the business voice is consistent, confident, and relevant in terms of differentiating products, promotions, and pricing. Your internal team must all buy-in and speak with one defined voice.
- Relevant and sensitive client comms with your existing and loyal customer base to maintain and engage conversations. Good newsletter marketing with your regular customers is key, adapting the messaging and being sensitive around the broader market economy, perhaps developing appealing promotions, offers and incentives to encourage sustained loyalty.
- Profiling of your people and their opinions. Sharing their passions, opinions, and successes (and sometimes failures) can reinforce the authenticity and values of your business. These are often colourful stories and easy to find, and many times an unsung hero can be celebrated in different ways across different channels.
- Maintaining visibility through regular, targeted earned media and influencer work. Memorable, light-hearted creative content, sharing positive and uplifting stories often lands well in a dismal news cycle. Product gifting underpins much of this work, as does ‘bookable PR’, where an offer, promotion or a quirky headline can drive a sale or booking.
- Partnership marketing can deliver affordable customer acquisition, grow sales, and increase awareness. We encourage clients to work with other like-minded brands, businesses, and influencers where there is shared benefit and synergy of purpose, narrative, or outcome. We don’t encourage lots of these, but a few strategic alliances can create a very powerful sales channel.
- News, launches, and product reveals. Key here is to create these business moments with an eye on the broader climate. Excessive spending or flagrant flashing of cash doesn’t go down well and can be misconstrued and backfire. Creating plans that are sensitive and respectful to the broader climate and plan, and which you personally would feel comfortable defending in the face of criticism are important.
- Creativity is king. If you invest anywhere then invest TIME in creating and thinking and talking as a team to your agencies. Some of the BEST work comes to the fore in times of crisis, when budgets are under pressure. The best ideas are usually not the most expensive.
So why do we think PR & Comms is leaned on more when there is pressure on budgets? Creative PR & Comms can provide the most affordable means to develop and unleash big campaigns without a big price tag.
Traditionally, we all know that PR & Comms agencies are the unsung heroes, viewed by many as the poor relation to wealthier brand creative, digital, advertising and e-commerce agencies. And yet PR & Comms engages across the entire business. The touch points reach customers, employees, the board, shareholders, and investors.
As we all scrutinise budgets over the coming months, make sure to stop and think and ask your PR & Comms team how they can support you with effective, affordable comms to engage all your key audiences, both internally and externally. You don’t have to spend big bucks with big agencies!
Find out how we can help you and your business, get in touch!