But despite the ‘carnage’ on the high street (is it just me, or is this not as bad as we were told?), 2009
has actually begun with a flurry of PR activity that offers cause for industry optimism.
Almost as soon as we were chucking the champagne bottles in the recycle bin, all three political parties were launching major PR offensives. Indeed the Government’s efforts are not just coming from Downing Street. PRWeek learns that Cabinet Office minister Liam Byrne recently encouraged all departmental comms heads to pull together in a concerted PR drive to raise national morale.
Meanwhile, in the opposition, the Conservatives have just recruited a PR supremo in Scotland, reporting directly to comms director Andy Coulson, in a bid to revive the party’s flagging fortunes north of the border.
In the business world, we hear that the hedge fund industry this week hired a PR agency – Hanover – to improve its tarnished image. And the travel industry, via ABTA, has charged a consultancy – Paratus – with encouraging wary holiday-makers to start booking.
In other words, in all areas of public life we see organisations turning to comms experts in an attempt to address their main strategic challenges.
We even hear that Andy Murray, that hugely successful but still maligned British sportsman, has turned to 19 Management to control his destiny, which will involve David Beckham’s PR man Simon Oliveira moulding Murray’s public profile.
So while promotional budgets remain under pressure and firms seem reticent to take on staff, there is certainly no shortage of opportunities for communicators.
Yes, the messages may be slightly different but the stakeholder audiences are still there, the comms challenges are still there.
The demand for PR has arguably never been so high.