In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund slightly softened its 2016 economic growth forecast, citing factors such as China's rebalancing and lower commodity prices (e.g. oil).
While most economic pundits remain generally positive, the U.S. stock market is off to a historically slow start, losing 10% of its value since the New Year.
The good news for public relations? Should the economy grow soft, PR's value is actually more pronounced. Here are five reasons why:
There's no other discipline that's able to deliver more value for less cost than public relations. Just as Donald Trump has benefitted enormously from "free" media, public relations knows how to get your brand attention in the media, resulting in stories that reach your target audiences en masse. There's no better ROI than that.
- Credible perception
Since PR is a third-party discipline, it capitalizes on telling brand stories through the voices of others, whether it's the news media or your own customers' brand experiences. Telling a consistent story through the voices of others on owned, earned and shared (social) channels is the most credible way to drive positive perceptions toward your brand or issue.
When times get harder, people look for the most trustworthy sources of information. Consumers will still spend, even in a down economy, but they will do so with brands and organizations where they feel the deepest connection. PR strategies foster that relationship.
In jittery times, people will often react to the first thing they hear about a brand or trend. Only through PR can your organization act instantly in response to any news that misrepresents your value proposition to the marketplace. For your marketing efforts to be nimble and most effective, this advantage is a "must."
- Market Share
Buy low, sell high. With PR, the investment you make in a softer economy is amplified even more against competitors who back off their marketing budgets. That means you can steal market share and business opportunities with the right program in place - one that is led by a sound PR strategy.
The fact is, strategic PR practice works in any economy, and especially in down times. Is your company prepared to take full advantage of a cost-efficient PR strategy in 2016 and beyond? Tell us how in the comments section below.