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5 Reasons to Rethink Pausing Your PR Program During Economic Downturns

By Axia Public Relations

This is one story in our series about COVID-19. Read 8 ways your PR agency can assist you during COVID-19 for more.


rethinking pausing your pr plansThe business landscape, disrupted by COVID-19, has transformed almost overnight and triggered talks of recession. As many companies look to reduce spending, keep in mind it’s been proven over time that increasing (or maintaining) your overall marketing spend during a recession can result in long-term gains. No marketing strategy would be complete without public relations, and especially during challenging times, PR must be an integral part of that plan. 


Although it may be tempting to hit pause on your PR program, now is not the time. It’s time to be even more strategic. Speed is the most important commodity in times of crisis. Don’t wait and risk missing the opportunity. 



Consistently elevating your company’s brand reminds customers of your value and encourages them to return as local and state restrictions begin to ease. In the long run, this approach will produce the best results.


The coronavirus pandemic presents some unique challenges. Nonetheless, it is economically similar to the 2007 global financial crisis. We can look to lessons-learned during that time and the subsequent recession for guidance.


Companies with locations in certain regions are beginning to resume business activities and will start to shape the next new normal. As you prepare for recovery, there are several factors to consider.  


  1. 86% of consumers cite authenticity as important when deciding which companies they support
    That date from Stackla suggests that overly promotional marketing and advertising will seem self-serving if you aren’t careful. Instead, focus on empathetic, audience-focused messages. This might include positive values and a community advocate. These are critical components of being (and appearing to be) authentic. We live and work in the age of authenticity. Take the opportunity to be the more authentic brand.

  2. Service-based community support is an inexpensive, positive way to engage your employees as well as current and potential customers. Actions speak volumes and become even more valuable when effectively communicated. Examples show that companies who continued engagement with positive, supportive, and informative messaging about their community service earned positive responses.

  3. Your competitors aren’t waiting, or are they? Either way, anything you do now that your competitors aren’t doing will give you a leg-up. It’s essential to monitor your share of voice (SOV) as it relates to your share of market (SOM). The higher your SOV compared to your SOM, the more likely your company is to grow its market share in the subsequent year. So, increasing your PR investment at a time when competitors are reducing theirs should considerably increase the reputation of your company. And this helps you establish an advantage that can be sustained for many years to come.

  4. Taking this a step further, when you pause your PR, you make it easier for the competition to step in. You are essentially taking your company ‘off the market.’ Doing so creates an opportunity for your competitors to exploit this opening. 

  5. Using this time for relationship-building with potential customers will make converting them to paying customers easier when the crisis recedes. Now is the time to reinforce the attributes that make your company appealing and distinctive in your industry without being ‘salesy.’ 

“We’ve been through an emotional experience together,” states a recent Sinclair (APAC) Insights Report. “We have grown and changed; our perspectives are altered. Brands that acknowledge and embrace this sentiment through their communications strategies and recovery planning can win hearts and minds as we move towards the new normal.” 


Companies will not merely resume where they left off before COVID-19. Remember, the path toward recovery is a journey. 


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Image by Sanu A S from Pixabay

Topics: crisis communications

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