As we move into the new financial year, your business may be grappling with a feeling of uncertainty around a looming recession and what the remainder of 2023 and 2024 will hold.
To offset a potentially shaky economic future, companies are likely reviewing their budgets and making cuts where they can. For anyone working in public relations, advertising and marketing, times like these can be especially tough and its widely expected the sector will take a massive hit.
As we move forward into the coming months and years, it is certain that business owners and entrepreneurs will face numerous challenges. Nevertheless, it's essential to recognise that during a crisis, prioritising public relations and branding can make all the difference.
Why public relations?
Keeping your brand visible through effective public relations is one of the most frugal, efficient and ingenious methods in times of economic hardship. The public relations-generated endorsement is a persistent and persuasive voice that stays with its target audience long after the initial public relations campaign has ended.
So, where do you start?
It's important to approach your public relations and marketing strategy with a flexible mindset.
What worked in the past may not necessarily work in the future, and it's important to be open to new ideas and approaches.
One way to stay flexible is to keep a close eye on your data and analytics. By monitoring your website traffic, social media engagement, CRM data, and other metrics, you’ll be able to see what's working well, what you can ditch, and where there are opportunities for improvement. This information can (and should) help you to adjust your strategy and make informed decisions about where to focus your resources.
Build your digital reputation and visibility
Public relations conducted online is an effectively way to build rapport with your audience.
Use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to actively communicate with your audience rather than just posting infrequent updates.
Start a blog to provide information, raise awareness or express your opinion on a topic of interest to your target audience.
Distribute an eNewsletter regularly.
Join an online discussion group.
These strategies are feasible, even for small businesses, and can help maintain relationships with customers and stakeholders.
Also consider your target audience.
With so much uncertainty in the economy, it's likely that consumer behaviour will continue to evolve. I recommend keeping a close eye on your target audience, and be prepared to adapt your messaging to meet their changing needs. This could involve revisiting your buyer personas, conducting new market research, or simply keeping a close eye on social media conversations and trends.
Focus your attention in 2023 is engagement.
With so much noise in the marketplace, it can be challenging to cut through and get your message heard, and you might need to think creatively about how you can engage your audience and build meaningful connections. This could involve hosting events, creating valuable content for a range of channels, or leveraging social media influencers.
It's important to remember that public relations and marketing are long-term investments.
While it can be tempting to cut back on these activities in times of economic uncertainty, doing so can have negative consequences down the line, and this may set you back for many years.
For example, you’ll potentially have to work harder (and invest more resource) to
Get noticed in a competitive market
Build brand awareness and a strong brand identity
Build credibility and trust
Nurture strategic relationships
Attract and retain great employees
By continuing to invest in your public relations and marketing strategy, you can position your business for long-term success and growth.