Take stock but don’t press pause on your PR

Wednesday, August 19, 2020


Having worked in the industry for over 30 years in which at least three recessions have occurred, it comes as no surprise that the fallout from the pandemic is resulting in many companies ‘pausing’ activity.


Yet, in our experience the clients that continued to invest in their PR programmes during recessions were the ones who benefitted the most – as counter intuitive as that may seem.


There’s research to support this. A recession study published in a 2010 Harvard Business Review article suggests that companies that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals have the lowest probability (just 21%) of pulling ahead of the competition when things get better.


Furlough, social distancing guidelines and covid secure legislation has changed the way we are all working – throwing up new opportunities and practices. For some, savings will have been made with less business travel, ‘away days’, conferences, seminars and events.


Our top tips for PR in a pandemic are:


1. Regular communication – Openly and honestly communicate with all your audiences (employees, customers, clients, suppliers and the public) to let them know how your business is doing


2.   Trial new communication channels – Social Media platforms, create a short vlog, blog or podcast to increase reach


3.   Share your success stories – Tell others about how you have supported staff, new cost efficiencies and savings and or new / improved products / services for customers / new partnerships


4.   Do more with less – prices associated with PR generally decline in a recession – advertising, printing, photography etc – so campaigns or publications that you might not have had the budget to use prior might now be feasible


5.   Go on the offensive – use this opportunity to gain ‘share of voice’ and market share. Whilst others put the breaks on spending and remain silent, be the company / brand regularly appearing in the news – a leader in your industry.


We would recommend maintaining your pr presence without being bullish, overly opportunistic and tone deaf to the current climate. Delivering a consistent message and engaging with your customers during this challenging period will foster trust, empathy and loyalty.


Paul Dobbie