There's no doubt America's major corporations are looking to cut costs and streamline their businesses in the current economic downturn. Recent news shows Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are in reviews over marketing functions, while marquee companies like General Motors and Coca-Cola announced downsizing of marketing budgets and staff. The airline industry is certainly looking to streamline offerings, and Procter & Gamble just appointed a new marketing chief known for his fiscal prudence.
With downsizing, companies hope to provide a better ROI while riding out the downturn. The opportunities here for PR firms are immeasurable. Agencies have come a long way since being known as the publicist only, and recent positive Q2 earnings reports from agencies show some firms are already capitalizing on new opportunities.
PR firms' resources extend beyond press releases to strategy counsel, digital, and other offerings, and the current state of finances at corporations provides the perfect time to make that known to executives looking for a better ROI. Most recently, GM's Steve Harris, VP of global communications, noted that the company, though downsizing, might look to apply resources elsewhere, including communications. An opportunity like this is rare, so it shouldn't be squandered.
As companies consider which firms to lead their marketing, a PR firm that offers smart, sensible, and timely solutions will have the best chance to succeed. No doubt, many will be looking to those with proven track records, a range of services, and the ability to do a lot on a tight budget. Although the contracts offered might not carry the same heft as in more flush times, relationships built now will help PR succeed in the future and come out of this downturn not only intact, but with new partnerships. Success earned during tough times often brings great accolades and trust.