Why is PR important during economic slow-down

As we close in on the third Union budget in a period of twelve months, the Indian economy seems to have hit a major slowdown. While the India Ratings and research agency has projected India’s, GDP forecast at 5.5% in financial year 2020-21, others such as World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) quoted GDP growth estimates of 5.7 % cent in the current fiscal. Without delving into the specifics of whether its structural or cyclical, it is suffice to say that India Inc. has gone into a huddle in seeming preparedness for downturn which can be bigger than expected. 

At this crucial juncture, sustaining Public Relations via strategic communication outreach will be paramount especially during a slowdown. 

Here’s why I feel PR is important especially during a slow down 

  • Lessons from Warren Buffet’s “Simple Rule” of investments in a financial down-turn:

“Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful,” Warren Buffet.

This statement says it all, which implies that investments during a down-turn will eventually reap great benefits in the long-term. Buying low and selling high is the mantra. 

  • Government policies needs amplifications – All policy measures of the government – whether its economic revival packages – SOPs – Tax holidays, roll-backs and exemptions etc need to be communicated across regions in an effective manner. This will further emphasise the aspect that the government of the day has its ears to the ground and taking steps to revive and sustain the economy. Here the verticals handling all government bodies – National – Regional – Local and Hyper local need to be aligned to further disseminate information which is important in terms to getting it across sections of society to dissuade panic and uncalled for nervousness. 
  • Mopping up market share – It takes me back to point one – when everyone is selling – one’s with foresight will invest – keeping in mind the long-term uptick. This applies to one’s brand, especially if it is an upcoming one to garner market share from competition or from market leaders. PR will be effective to keep your brand perceptions afloat when others may be off the radar or muted during this time.
  • Not Just Fair-Weather Friends – PR professionals needs to remain with their clients/corporate customers and their brands through thick and thin – Good and the bad. Hence even if the client is going through rough weather or a Crisis situation – whether its projects slow down – NPAs – other regulatory compliances or just shutting shop– it’s important to sustain the communication outreach to represent the brand and the overall organisation appropriately among stakeholders. The idea here is to remain transparent, accessible through timely communication in a sustained manner.
  • It is a slow-down for everyone – Hence it is important for PR professionals to rejig their network and relationship with the media to propogate the correct and right messages. Building an ecosystem to which your communication and messaging can be rightfully delivered will play a key role during this time.Stories which add value to the readers or viewers and editorially strong should be further culled to develop meaningful outcomes. Cutbacks and reducing staff will be universal and it’s important to make the job of the intended media organisation as easy as possible.

And finally deploying cost-effective PR Strategies, which look at traditional media, social media platforms with ever more engagement with influencers and micro-influencers can help lay out campaigns which are cost-effective, while maximising ROI. Besides recalibrating business strategies, companies will also need to account for a communication outreach during a slow-down policy to sustain value propositions of the organisations and their brands to reap rich dividends in the long- term. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pranjal Dutta
Pranjal Dutta is the Founder and CEO of Faction PR. With a career spanning over 18 years across Print media, Broadcast media and Public relations, Pranjal is a seasoned media professional. Pranjal has worked at top positions with many leading media companies and chambers including Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Balaji Telefilms, NDTV Media, CNBC-TV18 and O&M.
He led communication strategies and crisis strategies for global shipping major - Maersk , Inland logistics Service providers such as - APM Terminals and others. In the start-up vertical – he was the primary communication lead for Citrus Pay – until 2018.

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