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At a time when customers can’t buy from you, there’s a temptation to turn off the things that drive demand. Especially if those things cost you money. An early victim of such a strategy can be PR.

But is this short-term strategy a major mid-term mistake? Absolutely.

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At the moment people aren’t going about their daily lives and bumping into your brand in shops, on ad hoardings, while travelling, or in workplaces. They’re not chatting face-to-face with their mates discussing you over a coffee. They’re not coming to your offices, seeing you at events and exhibitions, or meeting your personnel. Your brand is simply not in front of people. So, if you then also cut off your external communications – you have as good as vanished from their lives. Yes, that’s right, vanished.

This is a massive mistake. At such times you need to keep your tribe of customers and prospects close and onside. You simply cannot afford for there to be radio silence. If there is, you can be sure a competitor will be filling that void; being proactive and sounding positive; keeping your marketplace entertained, informed, engaged, educated. They will be demonstrating their relevance at this time, building their confidence and trust and thus nudging them ever closer to becoming customers. It will be that competitor and not you on peoples’ radars when normality returns, and people start buying again.

New research by Censuswide bears this out. It revealed that almost 3 in 5 (58%) of consumers said that the way a brand behaves during Covid-19 will have a direct impact on their purchasing behaviour in the future, with nearly half (48%) saying that they would trust a brand less if there was no communication during the crisis.

And don’t forget, when normality returns (which it surely will) people and businesses will be keen to make up for lost time. Consumers will be keen to do the things they’ve been deprived of and spend the money many may have saved during lockdown. For those who sell B2B, businesses will be anxious to reinvigorate their delayed business strategies, to get their plans back on track.

So, don’t cut back now. Get your PR activity rocking, take the initiative, take the lead, use PR creatively to connect with your tribe. After all, if your competitors are cutting back on their marcomms at the moment, every pound you spend has the potential to have an even bigger cut-through. The return on this investment could be huge - and the pay- off will come at the very time your business needs it most, as we emerge from lockdown.

We are running a limited number of free one-to-one workshops where we help companies review their PR strategy and come up with a PR plan of attack for this time. To reserve your place on one, email: Louise@energypr.co.uk

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