How PR can help future proof a business

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The current state of the economy can be one that business owners meet with apprehension. Rising costs, inflation, and recession are dominating our headlines, but having a sustained and focused PR strategy is vital for businesses that are focused on the future.

It is typical for those businesses that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals to struggle to grow in the long term, though they are making savings in the short term. These businesses will eventually inevitably have to dedicate more budget to marketing to regain the lost traction.

At a time when marketing and traditional advertising may take a backseat, PR is imperative to maintain and nurture relationships with current stakeholders, and it’s a great chance to develop beneficial relationships that focus on longevity.

The focus should also be on being proactive rather than reactive, and consistent communication lends itself to that notion. Also, displaying to the market that you are in good shape promotes a positive perception of your brand. Becoming a beacon of information for your audience can also be beneficial – speaking on current issues, and providing help and advice where you can reinforce this positive perception.

Additionally, creating a positive perception also goes hand in hand with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), which analyses a business’s impact on society regarding investment, transparency and social responsibility. Having a dedicated focus on ESG will position your business as a forward-thinking entity and help keep the momentum going while showing your audience that the company is trying to make a difference.

During a recession, we often see businesses put their communication strategy on hold completely as there are more pressing matters within the business. Directors will be looking to cut costs where they can, and some aspects of marketing may be considered surplus to requirement.

However, the recommended approach would be to adapt your marketing strategy to the essential channels that are most successful and beneficial to your business. It's not a question of if marketing should be paused, it’s more of a case of how you market, whether that is shifting budgets away from more expensive channels like TV/radio advertising to more cost-effective solutions like social media advertising. If this is the approach that is taken, it's important to tweak the messaging and goals to suit the chosen channels.

For business owners, it’s important to remember to advertise what will sell – not what you want to sell. At a time when consumers are more financially strict, there is no benefit to pushing more expensive offerings or products, as it is not feasible for your audience. Instead, focus on the less expensive product, which is both cheap to produce and sell; this will be a win-win for the business and consumer.

In terms of the message itself, during a recession, audiences do not want to be bombarded with sales talk, as many are in difficult financial situations too. Best practice would be to take a more empathetic, understanding, and compassionate tone that audiences will resonate with and appreciate.

For more information on how PR can help your business, contact our team here.