Given the continuing sorry state of the UK’s economic tightrope, it’s no surprise that many of the people I’ve been talking to in recent weeks are under mounting pressure to reduce their PR budgets – as part of wider cost-saving measures.
For some, this means changing agency allegiances to take advantage of the lower cost base of smaller consultancies. For others, it means shelving plans for climbing the PR ladder and communicating as a way to build their businesses. But cutting back may bring other problems.
Obviously getting what it is paying for, a company on my radar changed agencies and now has a bright new website – not significantly improved from its predecessor in design terms, but sadly lacking in the quality of its written content. This company may be lucky: its website may pay for itself handsomely by influencing a non-discerning customer. On the other hand, how many potential customers may be turned away by its shoddy grammar, bad spellings and boring text?
My advice to companies needing to squeeze enough to continue effective communication from a shrinking budget is to look for professionals who can still deliver high quality – but at acceptably lower prices. Do not buy on price alone – appoint an agency that gives you good value for every pound you can afford to spend. Choose consultants who can spell, produce captivating copy and suggest creative, cost-effective ways to re-use each new item, maximising its value.
There are, I am sure, many excellent consultants who share my views and my keenness to provide both value and quality. We’d love to hear from you. So if you find your company is stuck on the high wire, you can still use PR as your balance pole.
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 16 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.