In 2020, Britain found itself in a recession – the first time in 11 years. But if we take a look at what happened after the 2008 credit crunch we see that businesses bounced back stronger than ever. Here are five steps outlining how to build your brand out of a recession using PR and marketing.
Why PR & marketing are crucial
Most of the time, a crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic leaves a feeling of fear and uncertainty – especially about the future of business. Many companies choose to play it safe and cut spending on any business costs deemed unessential, such as PR and marketing, but this can have a detrimental impact on both brand image and sales.
Spending cuts across PR and marketing might save money in the short-term, but businesses should consider the bigger picture. SMEs that increase marketing investments are best positioned to achieve long-term profitability by gaining an edge over competitors.
Not only do companies have to be resilient, organized and prepared when coming out of a recession, but they also need to be PR and marketing savvy. So, whether you decide to hire an agency, or give it a try yourself, here are five steps to get you started:
1. Create an effective strategy
To create an effective strategy you will need to outline your business goals, ascertain how you want to achieve them and add a timeframe - of course, remember to factor PR and marketing into this. As you probably already know, businesses need to have clear and measurable objectives, so you can calculate growth and gauge the success of each strategy.
Some things to consider when integrating PR and marketing into your strategy are:
- your company’s branding and key messages
- business opportunities that could turn into a press release
- how you can effectively approach your target market.
If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s to always have a Plan B in place and prepare for the unexpected. If another crisis occurs in the future, being prepared will enable you to take action immediately – and maximize your PR and marketing efforts to ensure your company’s voice is heard over that of competitors' when the crisis is over.
2. Get coverage
Once you’ve established something newsworthy for your company to get involved with, make sure that people know about it. This is when having an expert comes in handy – PR and marketing agencies usually know how to write a seamless press release, take an eye-catching press shot, and have the necessary contacts to ensure your company receives instant exposure. This traditional form of public relations gives companies traction and a much-needed brand boost.
Corporate social responsibility is extremely important at any time, but particularly during a crisis. When people are feeling vulnerable, showing initiative and consideration for the wider community is not only fantastic PR, but it’s also the right thing to do. Brand loyalty is critical during this time to attract and retain customers - building trust and connecting with consumers reinforces their commitment to your brand. Your target market is watching you during this time and they will remember your actions when emerging from an economic downturn.
3. Leverage social media
There is a technique to promoting your brand successfully online – by posting content that your target market, industry, and even competitors find interesting and helpful. Once you have great content, ensure your social media accounts remain fresh with regular posts. In turn, this will help build a following as people will come to your platform as a reliable source of information.
Whichever route you choose, bear in mind that the most important factor when growing your social media presence is engagement with your target market, as this helps to build trust and relationships.
4. Consider content marketing
An effective content marketing strategy focuses on creating valuable, relevant, and consistent content that essentially does your marketing for you. Blogging is a powerful yet simple way to achieve this goal. Blog posts that are focused on user needs and are optimized, including adding well-researched keywords, will help increase your brand’s visibility. This is because they will help your brand rank better in search engines, resulting in increased organic traffic to your website.
If you really want to capture the attention of your target market and drive them to your website, you should consider increasing your use of video on social media platforms.
5. Attend online networking events
Online networking events are essential for promoting your brand, seeking new opportunities, and building relationships with prospective clients. Indeed, networking might not feel the same over Teams or Zoom, but any occasion that allows you to promote your brand is beneficial.
During a recession, redundancies and unemployment tend to skyrocket and many people will sadly find themselves with a lot of time on their hands. Without seeking to exploit these unfortunate circumstances, you can consider ways to entertain and inspire your target audience whilst also promoting your business. Create an online event where you can inform consumers about your products, brand values, or relevant news, establishing your business as an industry leader.
About the Author
Charlotte Nichols has over 15 years’ experience in the PR and marketing sector and established her company Harvey & Hugo during the 2008 recession. Harvey & Hugo’s mission is to use PR, social media, and marketing techniques to make brands lovable and memorable with its flexible offering, making PR and marketing accessible to all.