Why you should invest in PR during the good times AND the bad

Value of PR - Honest Communications, a specialist garden and home PR agency, social media management, content creation and communications agency

2022 has been anything but smooth, with the cost of living crisis and political turbulence, among so many other things, causing uncertain times for both households and businesses. As we head towards the end of the year, you might be reviewing your budgets for 2023 and finding yourself having to make some cutbacks in the business. It can be easy to turn off the marketing tap, but it’s actually the worst time to stop communicating.

Whether it’s the rising cost of production and overheads or a change in consumer spending, now is the time for PR to be at the top of your “must-have” list to make sure that your business rides the wave of these uncertain times, rather than sinking under the pressures. Let me tell you why… (and it’s not just because we’re a PR agency!)

It goes without saying that PR is an invaluable vessel that can catapult your brand above your competitors and get you in front of the right people, but it sadly cannot stop the economy from plummeting or magically fix the country’s woes. What it can do, though, is protect your brand. Many people are having to be smart with their money right now and that means being selective with what they buy and who they buy from. So it’s important that you show consumers why they should buy from you. Investing in PR will ensure your brand stays visible, so when people go to buy, your brand is at the forefront of their minds, above your competitors.

Let’s take gardening as an example. It’s a world we know and love here at Honest and it’s a hobby many uncovered during lockdown, but some people may think that it’s time to hang up their trowels in order to afford the necessities. With a little bit of PR magic though (and lots of hard work!), it’s an opportunity for gardening brands to communicate to those green-fingered types how it can help them save money and the planet in the long run. Whether it’s through providing tips on growing your own vegetables or securing features in top-tier publications, PR can help build your brand as one with trusted, high-quality products that these titles are willing to shine some light on. Utilising PR will allow you to reposition your brand to communicate just how beneficial you can be to them during these trying times and of course on their gardening journey.

It’s been proven too. During the 2007/08 recession, 60% of brands that continued to invest in their PR and marketing strategies all saw an improved return on investment. McDonald’s also hunkered down to establish a PR and marketing strategy that carried them through the recession. They thrived as a result, opening nearly 600 stores in 2008 and achieving a higher sales growth than in 2006 and 2007.

How did they do it? Well, they knew that people were going to eat at home where they could to save money, but when they ate out, what was quick, easy, and affordable? The infamous golden arches, of course! Not only did McDonald’s offer affordable, fast-serving food, but its existing reputation and global awareness helped bolster the trust between them and consumers, while its repositioned messaging placed them as the go-to eatery so people knew they could enjoy eating out, even during a recession.

This example is proof that delivering your PR and marketing strategies during slow growth is vital for mid to long-term success. Maintaining consistent messaging and constantly taking advantage of opportunities with the media will keep your brand at the forefront of people’s minds. Waiting for the storm to pass will only leave you having to rebuild your brand’s entire reputation and awareness in the future, instead of building on from the consistency you’ve put in from the beginning. Plus, if your competitors have decided to hit the brakes on their PR budget, all eyes will be on you, so take it as your time to shine!

We know that these times aren’t just tough for people, they’re tough for businesses too, so remember the value we PR professionals can bring to your brand when it comes to approaching negative news stories and scenarios. Whether it’s financial hardship, job losses, or plummeting industry performance, all of them will be very challenging to navigate, so an experienced and clear voice is essential to protect your brand’s reputation, as well as its longevity.

If you’re thinking about investing in PR for 2023 or you’re looking to switch up your agency to ensure you’re getting the best ROI, get in touch so we can help bolster your brand’s reputation and increase its awareness so you shine brighter than the rest!