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PR is fundamental in a recession

by Kate Gard

August 3, 2020

While lockdown is easing, Covid-19 continues to raise its ugly head forcing local lockdowns and disrupting travel. The long-term impact on business and the economy is challenging to predict as we teeter on the edge of a recession. History tells us that companies that maintain their investment in marketing are more likely to flourish, and pull ahead of their competitors, than those that aggressively cut costs. When budgets are cut, brands need to deliver a strong commercial return, and PR has and always will be fundamental.

PR has the power to deliver an impressive ROI compared to other marketing disciplines. In a recent marketing spend review for one of PrettyGreen’s longest standing clients as part of an independent media agency report, PR delivered 67% of the brand’s total impressions for just 12% of the total budget.

The impact of PR is difficult to dispute with 90% of editorial coverage now online and articles remaining on the home page for two days. Editorial content has a much higher level of engagement, dwelling time and trust versus paid content. Word of mouth and influence, the purest form of PR, also has the greatest impact on decision making. When we take all of this into account and partner it with the fact that production budgets and hourly rates are lower than virtually any other discipline, PR is a win win in a recession.

PR today encompasses everything from media relations, influencer marketing, content creation, experiential marketing, brand partnerships and collaborations. Anything that gets people talking to drive word of mouth. As well as a stonking strategy and creative, PR agencies need to have ROI and evaluation criteria, such as the Barcelona Principles and the AMEC evaluation framework, front of mind from the beginning and be focused on delivering activity and results that provide a real business impact. The agencies that do this will be the ones that will grow during these testing times. As someone once said: “power is measured by the pound or the fist”.


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