Managing director of Voicebox PR, Michelle McCarthy comments on why you need to think twice before stopping PR when hard times hit businesses.
It’s time for some tough talking
Many businesses are listening with cold fear at the constant news reports about the current economic situation. We’re being told that for many small businesses under 15 years old it is will be the worst situation we have ever faced. We are dealing with the unknown. We have yet to find out exactly how much business we will lose as a result, exactly how our business will be affected.
But there are two certainties. All businesses will look to cut costs, and all businesses need to keep and win customers. Some, who are yet to be affected, are using it as a timely reminder to see how they can save money just in case. Some are looking to it as a time to change their business set up, such as making staff home based rather than office based. Many businesses have decided to sit tight and wait.
There’s just one problem. The more you put your business on hold, the more you stop surging forward and developing your brand and your reputation then the more you stop communicating with the one element that will ensure your survival …. your customers.
In good times businesses know that PR is no longer a luxury item but a necessity. That doesn’t change when times are bad. In fact PR becomes more important than ever. If you start to reduce PR spend, you start to create a problem that will come back to haunt you for months ahead.
The PR machine takes a while to crank up
The PR machine takes a while to crank up. Once all the plates are spinning and you have a regular dialogue going on with press and customers, you have platform to communicate from.
The journalists that you now have a relationship with are able to work with you on relevant case studies of successful clients (both you and your client benefit from this), you can start to draft feature articles and opinion pieces, and you can use your press cuttings to communicate with your current customers and as a marketing tool for potential customers. In short, you are giving your company every chance to survive. Pull this plug and how will people know about you?
If, financially, you are really struggling, then you need to talk to your PR about ways around the situation, possibly a more flexible way of working that will ensure you still keep the company profile out there. There are options and unless your business is at death’s door with no way out then think twice before reducing or stopping altogether.
If you have recently reduced your marketing spend as a knee-jerk reaction to the economy then take some more time to think further down the line. It’s a simple question to ask yourself; if nobody knows about my business how can I expect them to pick up the phone to hire me? And if the answer is still to stop or drastically reduce communications, then remember to switch off the light on your way out.