PR – a Great Value in a Recession?

Some emails hit my inbox this week that lifted my mood, with news about the value of PR in a recession.

One was from an old friend and Fusion PR partner, Drew Neiser, CEO and founder of Renegade Marketing.  He hosts CMO Huddles, a forum for B2B CMOs. The title of their recent newsletter –The Need to be Newsworthy -caught my attention. It began:

The unpredictability of PR especially for demand generation has pushed it down the B2B marketer’s priority list. But the threat of a recession and related budget trimming has revived interest in this potentially high-return, low-cost tactic.

CMO Huddles

The newsletter shared anecdotes in six areas: making news when you don’t have any, the importance of the finding the right agency partner, building media relationships, how to leverage customer advisory boards (CABs),  and the key role of awareness in the B2B buyer journey. The examples powerfully showcase the value of PR, when done right.

“We have a sponsorship of a Formula One team and periodically donate that sponsorship to a nonprofit, putting their logo on the car instead of ours. That has been very successful in generating a lot of coverage.”

“With our CAB, we’re building deep relationships and eventually building expectations around doing press.”

“Google is looking at various signals of brand popularity in their ranking algorithm for SEO and even small improvements can make an exponential difference”

CMO Huddle Participants

Another email pitched an article in Forbes Advisor with the subject line: PR Agencies named No. 2 recession-proof business by Forbes.

The pitch said:

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and an indication of popularity from Google search trends, Forbes Advisor assessed 60 small business types and determined which of them are most and least recession-proof in 2023.

Forbes Advisor

A key finding was that PR agencies, among other businesses like bookstores and interior design services, are most likely to succeed during a recession in 2023.

As my mom used to say: “From your mouth to God’s ears.” The PR business has treated Fusion PR pretty well for a long time, and hopefully will continue to do so through any economic downturn. Perhaps a receding tide will lift the boats of the PR business in general, as the article indicates; although, of course, better not to have a recession.

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