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How PR can help businesses navigate economic uncertainty

Recession-proof marketing and communications strategies

Economic news of early 2023 is filled with stories of major U.S. companies cutting expenses, jobs and bracing for a potential recession. Economists are debating the overall health of the jobs market and economy, and the mood among business owners and workers is somewhat somber. What can companies do to counter or adapt to potentialrecession stress?

What is the importance of public relations in the economy? And can PR help your business grow during economic stress?

In uncertain times, PR and messaging are essential to keeping a brand alive. Consumers are loyal to brands they trust, and that trust is built over time with honest and consistent communication. Focusing on public relations allows a company to educate and influence the public, investors, competitors and employees about its values, mission, breakthroughs and strategic decisions. PR is a fundamental component of building and maintaining a company’s reputation – an invaluable asset in today’s world.

A few ways in which PR can impact the economy:

  • Building and maintaining a positive reputation

  • Crisis management

  • Investor relations

  • Employee communications

Overall public relations can have a significant impact on a company’s reputation, relationships with stakeholders, customers and partners – and ultimately its bottom line. By investing in PR, businesses can build a solid foundation for long-term success.

Instead of being caught flat-footed, let DRIVEN360 help you prepare for any uncertainty.

How can public relations help a business during economic anxiety?

Use PR to Present a Positive Image – External stressors on the economy will naturally cause customers and stakeholders to become nervous or skeptical. Keeping up PR efforts can help businesses present a positive image under scrutiny and navigate a potential economic crisis by addressing concerns clearly and proactively.

PR Helps Maintain Brand Awareness and Loyalty – Businesses may feel the desire to pull back on marketing efforts and advertising during a recession, or struggle to maintain or increase their customer base. Through public relations efforts that build third-party validation, a company can still craft messaging that resonates with customers and target audiences, increasing visibility, trust and loyalty without significant ad spend.

Communicate with Stakeholders, Employees & Customers – Stakeholders appreciate clear and transparent communication, especially during a crisis or times of strain. A solid PR strategy can help companies engage with these stakeholders, understand their concerns to help prevent or address any issues that may arise. For example, companies can communicate regularly with employees through internal communications channels, such as employee newsletters and town hall meetings, to keep them informed about the company's performance and long-term plans. Companies can also engage with suppliers and other stakeholders through stakeholder engagement programs, such as supplier workshops and community outreach initiatives, to build relationships and foster collaboration, trust and confidence. A strong public relations firm can help craft the right executive message and even train spokespeople on how to deliver that message to greatest effect.

How To Use PR in Crisis Communications & Business Downturns

In highly competitive, constantly evolving industries like tech, it is paramount to have a dynamic public relations strategy to stand out and stay ahead of the competition.

Brand Message Development:

During periods of economic stress, it is crucial to have a clear message that resonates with consumers and stakeholders. Public relations can help companies develop a message that is relevant, consistent and emotionally appealing, and ensure that it is communicated effectively to key audiences. For example, a company could focus on the quality of its products or services, its commitment to employees, or its role in supporting the local community, to help build consumer trust and loyalty during difficult times. Companies can also lean into evergreen news delivered via satellite media tours, developing genuine, newsworthy storylines and lifestyle-focused content that appeals to the 24-hour news cycle.

Digital Communications:

The internet and social media have transformed the way companies communicate with the public. People digest countless hours of digital media every week, and an increasing number of Americans get their news from social media, blogs and nontraditional news websites. With so much content flowing in and out of the news cycle, keeping a brand in the conversion requires a solid strategy and bold content creation that cuts through the digital clutter. An agile PR firm can develop engaging content in various formats – blog posts, articles, infographics, social posts and videos – to engage with target audiences and communicate strategic messages about a brand or product.

Influencer Relations:

Influencers, such as bloggers, social media influencers, and industry experts, can play a meaningful role in shaping consumer opinions and perceptions about a company. Public relations can help companies identify and build relationships with influencers and leverage their influence to reach and engage with target audiences.

Reputation Management:

One of the primary roles of public relations is to manage the reputation of a company. During economic uncertainty, companies are often at risk of negative media attention, which can damage perception and undermine consumer trust. Public relations can help mitigate these risks by proactively sharing positive stories and news about the company and addressing any negative media coverage with candor and transparency. This can help maintain a positive image and build consumer trust, even during challenging times.

Crisis Communication:

Shifts in economic policy and rising inflation often leads to unexpected events, such as company layoffs, facility closures and other negative developments. In such situations, companies must communicate with stakeholders, including employees, customers, shareholders and the media, in a timely and compassionate manner. Public relations can help companies navigate any potential pitfalls by developing a crisis communication plan.

Media Relations:

Periods of economic downturn can foster increased media scrutiny, with journalists looking for stories about businesses and their impact on the economy. Public relations can help companies navigate this increased media attention by building relationships with key journalists, providing them with accurate information and perspectives, and proactively sharing news and stories that showcase the company's strengths and achievements. This can help position the company as a leader and trusted source of information during economic instability.

PR is an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes during economic stress. By having a relentless public relations firm on your side, you are better equipped to weather the storm and emerge stronger in the long run.

At DRIVEN360, we are passionate about helping companies achieve their goals.


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