An interesting article in the New York Times today – Is It a Recession? Marketers Seem to Think So – highlights how that the marketing industry is ramping up spending, even if this might be a recession (and, well, we cannot say we are in a recession yet, according to statistics).
According to the article:
The willingness of Madison Avenue to act as if a recession is under way may seem confusing, because advertisers usually reduce their spending during downturns. However, many marketers spend the same — or even more — during hard times as they do during booms, on the theory that they must make sure to be remembered by any consumers who are still shopping.
Now, it does not seem to be that way for PR – we are the misunderstood stepchild that seems to get cut – but it does bring up a good point: the media loves a story, so how are you tying up your client into a recession pitch or story? We know from the dotcom bust, that the age of social media really was born (all those out of work geeks, and they had to have some outlet). Will that be true this (potential) slow down? Will there be an increase in social media content because people have more time because they are out of work? If that is true, will there be an increase of blogs taking advertising – and will these people spurn public relations.
Yes, I think more people will turn to social media. I think blogs, mostly, and most likely part of large networks and niches that are of greater interest to the individual, and less vanity. It will be part of a differentiator (but not as much of one) for the new job. And, yes, there will be more advertising as online ads are cheap.
But, anyway, back to the post at hand: what are you doing for a recession pitch? The media loves the story right now, and while PR tends to tie itself to any meme out there with a tenuous link, there are opportunities here. It is about being smart, though, and having a real tie to a story.
A friend of mine owns a PR Company and has recently adopted an image makeover adding ‘Below the Line Promotions and Above the line results” as a tag line to his company name. According to him the future of PR is in below the line and not just PR alone. It should evolve from its traditional line of business and get more into non media activities like bogging, social marketing, web analytics, mobile marketing, events, seminars etc.
Citing one example, he says, if an article appears in the product launch column of Brand Equity, a supplement of Economic Times, we will have send SMSs’ to a database and ask them to visit the brand equity site or the company website for further details. This way you extend the mileage that has been achieved through media coverage. This is just one of example of how innovative thinking can bring in above the line coverage.
He did not think of going in for an image makeover keeping recession in mind, but by simply understanding what might be the future of marketing communications. But yet he still has a story because below the line activities are the one which will be adopted in the times of recession.
So, what is your story?