Unless you have been living on the moon recently, you will be aware of the escalating belief, held by everyone from the reporters at the Washington Post to your best friend’s cousin, that the United States is inching ever closer towards a full blown recession. It is certainly difficult to be optimistic as climbing unemployment rates, a slumping housing market and high energy prices all continue to deal a painful blow to the American economy.
In turn, other nations such as the United Kingdom and Japan wait and watch with trepidation, wondering how the ripple effect resulting from an economic crisis in America would affect their own precious economies.
All around the world, talk of an economic slowdown is a red hot topic on blogs and in newspapers and is keeping business owners awake at night. Understandably, they are worried about the future of their jobs, their shareholders, their families and the businesses which they have poured so much time and effort into.
The Dangers of a Knee Jerk Reaction
As a result of all this stress and fear, many business owners across the world, will already be thinking about how to ride out a recession, if one does indeed reach their shores. This will be the same whether their company has just started up or is the leader in its field. It is also highly likely that many of them will be contemplating putting a big thick red line through their public relations, advertising and marketing budgets…
Unfortunately, this reaction, rather than saving valuable dollars, could prove to be a catastrophic mistake. Many companies have kicked the bucket during past recessions, as a result of shying away from tools such as PR and consequently dropping off the radar of the media, their shareholders, their customers and their potential customers.
Focus on Your Communications
Rather than slim-lining communications efforts, this is the time to start beefing them up. Now, more than at any other time, businesses should be concentrating on maintaining the trust of their investors and customers by regularly communicating with them and letting them know how the company is dealing with the situation.
If you have any positive annual or quarterly results, let the media know. Pick up the phone or send an email to your local and national newspapers and tell them the good news. The editors and journalists of the business and financial pages are always very interested in success stories during times of hardship.
Public relations is also one of the most cost efficient tools available, which can be a blessing when finances are tight. Advertising, although it can be highly effective and should be a part of every business’s arsenal, can get very expensive, very quickly. The same is true for most traditional marketing campaigns.
PR, on the other hand, can achieve great things, even if the allocated budget is quite small. Online public relations can be extremely good value and is something that a business owner can do a lot of themselves, without having to refer to a PR professional. Start writing a company blog to keep your audiences updated on what you are up to. Participate in business forums and message boards discussing the possible recession to let people know that you have an opinion on what is happening with the economy, as well as to remind everyone that you are still alive and kicking! Send out a regular e-newsletter to all of your stakeholders and customers.
If you are unsure about where to start then get in touch with a reputable public relations consultancy. They will be able to point you in the right direction and give you some tips on how to handle most of the PR yourself.
Hold on Tight and You Will Come Out on the Other Side
Recessions are a natural part of the economic cycle. The markets, the consumers and the products will still be around once the economy has corrected itself. Business owners should try not to react by cutting out the tools that could help keep their head above water. Make good friends with a talented PR professional and keep the lines of communication open with key audiences. Maybe then your company will still be in the picture when the storm is over.