December 23rd, 2008 by Lloyd Gofton
So here we are again, the end of the year, well end of the working year for us at Liberate Media at least.Â Traditionally this is the time for looking back at last year’s predictions and making new predictions for the year ahead.
However, I don’t feel that next year will be a year quite like any other, so I’m going to avoid making a set of predictions as such and look at what we know.
First of all, don’t worry, this isn’t a post of doom and gloom, but allow me to set the scene before we delve deeper: Financial crisis, GDP at lowest level since 1990, recession, nearly everyone is feeling the squeeze in some way or other, in fact let’s be honest, most people just want 2009 to be over before it has already begun.
So, where does that leave us in the PR industry? Well for starters the game has changed. By game I mean whatever strategy, business plan or focus you had, will ultimately need to change to consider this new environment. No prediction there, just common sense.
Secondly, there will be casualties, agencies will make redundancies or disappear just as we have seen businesses go across the board. Clients will at least cast a close eye over PR spend and probably make reductions, and in some cases stop all together.
However, it’s not all bad, there are opportunities. Over the last month, at Liberate Media, we’ve had a large amount of new business enquires. This isn’t me shouting about how clever we are, this is simply a fact. Of those new enquires, most have been linked to social media or online methodologies in some respect. In affect, what was true prior to the crisis is true now, brands are investing in social media and progressive PR, but they are looking at it from a different perspective and in some cases this spend isn’t coming from a PR or marketing budget, it’s coming from a digital budget. There is no doubt that clients are more cautious, but the opportunity is there.
So, is this leading up to a big sales pitch for Liberate, no it’s not supposed to be. The point i’m making is simple, the PR industry was going through an evolution already, it started years before this economic crisis, but now the affects of this evolution are much more obvious.
As i said in my recent post: PR isn’t online or offline it’s through the line,Â the fundamentals of good PR are as true now as they have ever been: open and honest communications either online or offline is a simple rule to live by, where as spinning a story and talking ‘at’ audiences is a sure way to fail. The fact that an open and measureable communications model is the accepted approach online, puts the emphasis on online as the new model, but in reality the same is true offline.
So, although we will see a slow down across the board i think those that have embraced the change that PR has needed for so long, will continue to see opportunity. It’s a harsh way to look at it, but perhaps for the PR industry at least, this new environment will help to accelerate our much needed evolution.
If you’re after more predictions, allow me to point you in the direction of Stephen Waddington, who has done an excellent predictions post that I heartily agree with.