“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations” – Bill Gates
“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad” – Richard Branson
Over the last two years, Covid-19 has proven a real impediment to the growth and prosperity of many businesses, and ours has been no exception. What we have found, is that when times are difficult, firms want to conserve cash, and are often tempted to reduce or even abandon marketing and communications activities.
With media budgets slashed overnight, many of us saw businesses hit the indefinite pause button on the plans that we had in place. Why? In times of austerity, organisations often choose a policy of ‘batten down the hatches’ over focusing on growth momentum.
This Is a Short-Sighted Approach
We believe that companies need to foster both an austerity and a growth mindset when it comes to marketing investment, as there is no situation that would require one without the other. Marketing spend is the investment needed to reach new customers — and to maintain an existing customer base.
Like the quotes above from Bill Gates and Richard Branson, now is the time to invest in order to conquer.
Whilst economic pressures caused by Covid-19 mean that most marketing teams now have to operate with a reduced budget, having a good marketing and communications agency in place will ensure effective traceability of your marketing spend and reliable measurement of your return on investment (ROI).
Rather than cutting your budget during a time of crisis, consider maintaining or even increasing your spend. Focus on maintaining a consistent level of activity, whether it is via social media or display ads. Visibility and activity project a certain security level to your customers, and continuous exposure to your brand’s message not only reinforces its stability but also helps strengthen brand loyalty among your customers.
Reducing Your Media Budget in Times of Crisis Could be Detrimental to Your Brand
A lack of spend on PR during times of austerity could prove catastrophic for your brand. It takes years to build a solid brand reputation and your hard work could easily be undone in a matter of minutes, if you are unprepared.
As entrepreneur Richard Branson famously said, “Your brand or your name is simply your reputation, you have to fight in life to protect it as it means everything. Nothing is more important.” In these digital first times, a crisis could break and gain traction on social media in a matter of minutes. For this reason, it is critical to ensure that you have a PR team engaged and at the ready to help you to identify, prepare for and navigate potential crises.
PR is a cost-effective and incredibly important tool that, if used correctly, can change the future and profitability of your business. For this reason, you should always aim to sustain PR activities during difficult economic times. In addition to protecting your brand from reputational damage, these can help you to increase its visibility, communicate key messaging to your stakeholders and reach new audiences.
Constantly putting your business’ targeted and impactful messaging in the public domain through PR, allows you to build public trust and credibility, and position yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field. All of this will ensure that your business is front of mind when consumers begin spending again.
Do You Have a a Budget?
This might seem very obvious, but a £0 marketing budget can’t be stretched. We have worked with both small and large businesses that have historically allocated zero resources to communications and marketing, and nobody is surprised to hear that these organisations were not performing to their full potential.
Yes, we are and have been in a period of consumer uncertainty, as disposable incomes have been depleted due to the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, but these will eventually increase again, improving consumers’ buying power.
Once the economy recovers, and we are seeing glimpses of that already, the businesses that kept their foot on the pedal will have a huge advantage over competitors that had been waiting on the side lines for conditions to improve.
At Rumour Mill Creative Communications, we have a talented team of digital marketers, public relations consultants, copywriters, and graphic designers. If your business is in need of one of our services, contact us and we can help your organisation navigate this period of uncertainty to best position you for growth.
A retainer isn’t the only solution either. We work with many clients on a project-by-project basis that allows them to manage their reduced budget spends in a more productive and controlled way.
To find out more about how Rumour Mill Creative Communications can support you, reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 90682185