Why You Should Not Halt PR Efforts During a Downturn
By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | May 06, 2010
In tough economic times, as the one we are currently going through, we all know it's important to cut corners and switch into survival mode until things look better. But, just because you are slimming down costs right now, this doesn't guarantee you save time and money in the long run.
For example, if you had been wise enough to invest in a well-placed strategic Public Relations plan, and things were going well as far as exposure and getting your name out there, why would you even think of stopping that momentum? Yes, I know you are hurting; your catering sales are down, renovation projects have to be put off and lower occupancy is a bleak picture you are looking at every month.
It is only normal to react by cutting budgets left and right, trimming down your staff and other overhead costs just so your property can absorb the economic hit. But, thinking of another approach that could help you both in the short and long term can pay back dividends: Stop reacting and be proactive. Think out of the box.
If you seriously can afford not to, don't cut out Public Relations from your budget. PR is the only liaison between your property and the media. Imagine if you stop feeding news to the media, from announcements to special events, amenities and other features! You must keep a healthy presence in the media, and if possible try to reinforce those relationships with additional property reviews, FAM trips and other ways in order to be front-of-mind when it comes to stories.
Why? When the economy picks up, and it will, you will be ahead of the game from your competitors down the street, who pulled out of PR because "it just made financial sense for it to be the first to go." And when that time comes, as your competition works hard to play catch up, your fast-action public relations plan will have done its job, and you'll be in good shape.
Naturally, we need to be realistic. Just because public relations is worth investing in during hard times, doesn't mean you should not make adjustments to reflect your specific financial situation. Only you know your numbers and how far your dollar can stretch through 2009 for your property. So, if you are outsourcing, explain your situation and find cost effective solutions with your agent until the industry recovers from the economic slump. Or, maybe you can find highly qualified professionals to do the job in-house. Be creative in your decisions.