EDITORIAL: Consumer confidence a challenge

No area of the economy remains untouched by the current crisis, but

the picture emerging for private sector PR is complex. Many in corporate

and financial PR have been active with an increasing round of profit

warnings and announcements of cutbacks. What is less clear is the

outcome for the consumer sector.



As the Conference Board confirms a sharp reversal in US consumer

confidence, the UK appears to have weathered the first quarter rather

better than expected. There have, of course, been significant cutbacks

in consumer advertising during the past couple of weeks, and as

highlighted by this week's Big Question, consumer PROs now need to

perform a delicate balancing act.



It would be wrong to suggest that PR can benefit in any way from this

crisis, but PROs can make a contribution to clients' fortunes by acting

as barometers of public opinion. In this way, PROs can help to boost

consumer confidence at an individual level, while ensuring that any

consumer activity is upbeat but relevant and appropriate, without either

appearing mawkish or insensitive.



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