Working for a CFP in a financial industry recently has got me thinking of how the current economic situation effects marketing and Public Relations efforts for those who DON’T work in finance. For a financial planner you have all the more reason to up the promotions during these thought times. But what does it mean for the rest of us in PR? How do we view this situation and keep incentive and positivity for our clients??
In Ad Age’s “5 Tips to Cope — or Thrive — Through Downtown”, they claim that the good news is that remarkable innovation occurs in marketing and media — in the worst of times. Good thing for us marketers/branders/launchers/and PR folk, we are in the worst of times… (or something like it)! Time Magazine (which started Fortune) launched at the start of the great depression, and the magazine has made a large chunk of their wealth with magazines which were launched during recession years. Some examples: Time (1923); Fortune (1930); Sports Illustrated (1954); People (1974); Entertainment Weekly (1990). Also, regarding marketing in a bad economy, Jack Humphrey says that in times like this it is important to get beyond the excuse of “my sales are down because of the economy”. It’s a false mentality. Instead start brainstorming new and better ways to help SOLVE people’s problems to attract more attention to your products. (Which should become the solving problem products). All you have to do is what the competing products will not do, in order to solve the problem for the customer. While others companies are lamenting the market loss, you’ll be moving forward with marketing and promo efforts. However, don’t market as if you don’t know that customers are concerned about the times. Address the issue. Then help them deal with it. Use your product to capture their attention and ease their minds from chaos that is currently our economy. Identify an aspect of your product/client that positively relates to the economy downturn. Create a positive light, and then promote it!
Brand perception is incredibly important right now because in this economy consumers are reluctant to buy. They want a brand that they can trust, they know they are getting value from, and a brand that cares abot them and interacts with them as a customer. Taking these steps towards building a strong brand reputation via the social web is a big step. People are purchasing trustworthy brands and seeking out product information to make the best economic decisions. Public relations is the key to garnering this consumer trust.
If public relations can save the day by setting up a strong brand image, a big part of this will mean building an online community – which is a great way to converse with your customers. It all depends on what you want you’re brand to say. Think about it this way if you could lift your logo and have invisible tag-lines/messages underneath what would they be? What do you want your brands image to communicate to the customer who may be hesitant to buy/trust/get on board? Here are some important underlying themes that I believe brands should adopt (right now especially) in order to be successful with their customers in this economy:
- Your brand should care about the customers.
- Your brand should reach out to them online through your network/community.
- Your brand should take the time to listen to it’s customers/users and hear what suggestions and feedback they might have. USE Twitter, Facebook, forums, whatever just GET INTERACTIVE (they are plenty of outlets).
Brand perception is the key to success. It’s all about whether or not the customer can see value in your product. Your job is to see that they do see value and can trust you/your brand. What extra steps do you think can be made to encourage the trust and loyalty of your consumers by improving the overall perception of your personal brand?
The economic effect on the PR industry has completely flipped the conditions of job searching in this business in the past 12 months. Last year the demand for PR Pro’s was enormous and showed no signs of slowing. Now in 2008, the market is slowing and firms are forced to downsize their expectations as well as their salaries, their bonuses, and in some unfortunate cases, their staff. However, what I would like to focus on is that despite the number of companies find themselves cutting back, there are still others looking for new talent and that means there are jobs out there.
PR Newswire encourages us to energize our job search in this tough economy because companies are still searching for qualified candidates even as the country faces these economic uncertainties and a tighter labor market. Nearly half of HR managers are saying they have had to broaden the circle in which they look for qualified candidates in order to bring new talent in the door. According to the the 2008 PR Career Guide, on the agency side, executives say that the softening of the economy has had it’s effects on the job market meaning new opportunities to bring on board the right staff. Maybe it’s not a loose loose situation after all.
Yes, we hear comments and new statistics everyday about what the economy is doing to the PR job market, “people are looking for work… the quantity of resumes is greater than I’ve seen in some time.” – Jason Maloni VP, Levick Strategic Communications. But the truth is, despite this economic slow down, there ARE jobs out there, certain companies ARE still looking, and the challenge is not WHERE to find a job, but HOW to find the job that does exist.
PR Newswire suggests the following four steps to get us started.
1. Get online now
2. Network Network Network
3. Keep your ears open for opportunity at your current employer
4. Call on the professionals — ask your professional network for referrals
Layoffs. No one likes them. And currently, an overwhelming amount of people are experiencing this unfortunate life changing event. Who can you blame? It is usually not to the fault of the individual employees or the company that is forced to cut expenses, and therefore people. The truth is that it is a nasty, uncomfortable and sometimes heartbreaking experience for all involved. No more fun for the upper management that delivers the news than it is for those whose ears it falls on.
Unemployment in California rose for a fifth straight month to 7.7% in August, and economists predicted that a recovery wouldn’t come soon, given the depth of the Wall Street financial crisis. Under these present circumstances, in our poor economy (that doesn’t seem to be yet improving) this has become a first hand experience for me. Six months out of College, and all revved up from an amazing jump start into the field of public relations at successful and well awarded full-service public affairs firm in San Diego, I found my beloved new career screeching to a halt.
I am confident that layoffs are a reflection of the economy, not a reflection of my ability. Companies are sometimes forced to make tough decisions, in the fairest manner possible. Last one in, first one out. – These have all become common phrases in the explanation of my current situation… unemployment. (Ouch, painful words.) (And may I take this opportunity to say that I have the utmost respect for my former employer and continue to be grateful for my time and experience.) The question is — what now? I know I’m not alone today when I attempt to answer that question for myself. With a positive attitude, a pro-active approach, and energized at the prospect of being able to reach out for new and different opportunities, you simply put one foot in front of the other. In my brother Ryan’s words… you stay active. Always be doing something, and you’ll be doing something right. Be forward thinking, forward moving and looking forward. (Only look back when delving into past experiences for interview material.) I am confident that the talent and experience that I hold will take me great places, and I see this current situation as one of opportunity.
Right now, I don’t know exactly what is next but one truth remains, I’m excited for what is to come.