With a recession threatening, moving to cut PR budget may seem like a good way to protect the bottom line. A public relations campaign doesn’t typically generate immediate sales, which can be a priority in a soft economy. However, there can be long-term ramifications for tech companies and even risk to brand reputation if PR budgets are slashed reactively.
Once it’s well executed, a successful PR strategy can drive immense value for companies, even during a recession. Here’s how a strategic public relations program can actually help recession-proof your business.
During an economic downturn, customers naturally become more cautious about business spending and are likely to stick with brands they know and trust. In fact, according to a 2021 survey shared by Harvard Business Review, 80% of consumers consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions. A well-executed PR strategy can help build an organization’s reputation and increase awareness among target audiences, driving preference for prospective customers. Content that educates and informs customers can build trust and authority in an industry or a company. Typical PR-generated content includes blog posts, opinion pieces, feature articles or testimonials, infographics, or videos.
Positive media coverage created through the right PR campaign can also help build reputation and increase awareness among specific target audiences. Whether it’s a positive product review or a business profile, earned coverage offers a credibility nearly impossible to achieve through paid media. And by positioning executives as thought leaders and experts in a given industry, a business can further enhance reputation and attract new customers. That type of credibility is foundational for new sales and repeat revenue, as well as opportunities for partnerships and collaborations.
The right PR program can help a business demonstrate its value to customers and prospects by highlighting unique selling points like quality, affordability, or innovative technology. Critical attributes help differentiate a business or brand from competitors and attract customers even during tough economic times. A brand of business software with a security benefit can take advantage of news surrounding a cybersecurity hack or flaw, for example, to promote its superiority. PR can also help an organization maintain relationships with its existing customers by keeping them informed about activities, products, and services. This can help prevent customer churn and encourage repeat business.
During a downturn or a recession, businesses may face unexpected challenges or even crises that can damage their reputation and affect their bottom line. Many tech companies have announced staff reductions, for example. A proactive PR effort is like reputation money in the bank; it can help businesses manage potentially damaging news or issues by building good will. And promoting timely and transparent communication with stakeholders, including customers, employees, and investors helps to do just that. A skilled PR team can build an effective crisis plan and offer solutions that help mitigate issues in the short term.
Social media is a powerful PR tool for building awareness and engaging with key audiences like customers. Major social channels are effective for sharing news, promotions, and engaging content that highlights brand messages or even showcases a brand personality. Niche channels and social influencers can play a role as well, by helping businesses reach a wider audience, or possibly a niche one. Partnering with influencers whose values align with a brand’s own and who engage its target audience can drive brand awareness with the right people. Hosted events can also be a strong way to generate customer visibility, especially during a time of economic volatility. One-one-one contact and communication reinforce relationships and even create memorable brand experiences that ultimately impact the bottom line.
Overall, a well-executed PR strategy can help almost any business navigate tough economic times by elevating brand recognition and awareness. Recession-proof your business during a time when protection is needed the most by staying top of mind for customers.