With the UK economy in recession and the downturn expected to worsen heading into 2023 – let’s take a look and see why is this the BEST TIME to invest in PR.
During PuRe’s nearly quarter of a century in business, our most successful clients have been those who – amid recessions – continued to invest in public relations. Co-founder and Director of PuRe, Cara Ward, says, “Over and over again it has been verified that cutting your PR budget in hard times is a false economy and a short-sighted business decision. Public relations not only keep your brand visible and reminds your avid and potential consumers that you’re in a strong trading position, it also delivers invaluable third-party endorsement to validate this.”
Studies have shown that cutting back or altogether pausing your company's PR initiatives during an economic downturn is simply bad business. Rather, PR should be the last thing to go. When times are tough, you should speak louder and more deliberately about your brand. In one study on marketing effectiveness, researchers found that whilst cutting marketing and PR budgets may protect short-term profits, brands that do so are weaker and less-profitable once the recession ends. Maintaining media presence has been proven to increase the chance that a company will survive financially tumultuous times, ultimately positioning it to achieve long-term profitability by elevating its voice over competitors who halted marketing and PR.
Advertising legend, Sir John Hegarty backs this, saying that during economic downturn, “All of a sudden everyone is retracting [advertising, marketing, and PR spending] but people are still buying out there. So now your message is easier to hear because fewer people are advertising… but you have to go on promoting [your brand] to succeed. There is empirical evidence to show that this works.”
For instance, in 2021, McDonald’s earned $23.22 billion, whilst Burger King earned a lower$1.02 billion. Experts are relating this disparity back to the 2007 recession during which Burger King completely cut its marketing budget, whilst McDonald’s continued to invest in building brand awareness and positive perception.
Cara concludes, “Of all the marketing options, PR is one of the most adaptable, effective and affordable ways to put your key brand messages into the public domain. While your competitors are quietly trying to survive, you’re proudly leading the field with confidence, and that will give you the big head start for years after. So, whether you want to find investment, collaborators, new audiences, drive sales or bolster positioning, PR is way more valuable than the saving you think you might be making.”