The Economy and Public Relations
I have been waiting for a post like this to comment on, but in PR Squared’s “Cut the PR Agency? Are You *Sure* About That?” — Todd Defren points out his first client casualty due to the economic uncertainly of the bad economy. Todd writes:
It happened today. The economic angst whacked our agency upside the head. We now have our first example of a client who’s asked to terminate our contract “strictly as a precaution driven by economic uncertainty.”
It seems Sequoia Capital’s “Mandatory All-Hands CEO Meeting” last week, with its gloomy slide deck, has tech CEOs skittering for cover. But folks who rely solely on the VCs’ slideshow to make crucial decisions do their companies a disservice: it seems there was a lot of other valuable conversation happening throughout the Sequoia event.
It goes without saying that if you are chasing dollars in the relations world right now — either internal or external — now is the time to really “sing for your supper” and proactively and consistently ensure that your value is evident to those who control your dollars, yen or scheckels.
Now I am not a CFO, nor can I really even balance my own checkbook, it it often seems that company bean counters take a dim view of public relations in a economic downturn. Besides cutting back on internal communications, this is about the dumbest thing that you can do.
Todd sums it up pretty well:
“It is well documented that brands that increase (marketing) during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”
This is a great, succinct argument, but as someone who worked on the agency side for many, many years (the first to be axed in a bad economy), one that often falls of deaf ears.
I’m curious to know others’ thoughts when it comes to the value of public relations in a economic downturn. How do you establish and promote its value?