Digital strategy is vital to staying relevant amid crisis

Last week, PRWeek reported that some clients have cut ties with their agency partners or put PR on hiatus until the economy stabilizes. When times are tough, companies are within reason to scale back on budgets.

Last week, PRWeek reported that some clients have cut ties with their agency partners or put PR on hiatus until the economy stabilizes. When times are tough, companies are within reason to scale back on budgets. But cutting back entirely is short-sighted, especially when there are ample opportunities to keep a brand relevant by wisely using digital and social media tools.

Consultants in the PR industry confirm that clients continue to look for digital opportunities. Setting up a Twitter feed, blog, or a Facebook page can offer brands a low-cost way to maintain communications. However, digital campaigns are also continually proven as important and powerful ways to reach audiences, so it's also often one of the last things that should be cut – despite economic turmoil.

However, brands need to take the time to discover where and how their audiences are best reached online – rather than jumping into it as a possible recession crutch. The social media space is one of creativity, authenticity, and real time. Be certain that you play by the rules or no amount of investment will help.

While more companies look to grow their digital strategies, agencies will have an opportunity to show their prowess in the space. Those that invest it in it wisely by hiring top talent and allocating company resources to develop it, will find a golden ticket in the recession. Cultivating a digital mindset among a firm's entire staff, anchored by leaders in the area, will help to demonstrate commitment to the strategy.

Challenging times call for companies to come up with creative solutions to keep their brands relevant and valuable. The digital age has increased the opportunities for companies to do PR, even with tightened budgets, but it is up to the industry to do this effectively.

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