During hard economic times, the emphasis on ROI intensifies. Clients want to see a definite return as they crunch numbers, and agencies want to prove their value amid sector-wide cost cutting. Yet, when choosing what to factor into ROI, there are some less tangible PR outputs that shouldn't be forgotten.
For example, relationship building is a long-term strategy that should never get crowded out, despite uncertainty. PR pros know that every encounter they have with an influencer won't result in a story. But developing rapport with influencers – including discussing industry-wide trends with them – can ensure that a client's name stays at the top of a reporter or other influencer's go-to list. For smaller companies that do not generate consistent or major media attention, this strategy can be especially critical.
Creating the right associations – with the right cause, the right personality, the right geography – is also a catalyst for gaining the elusive prestige factor. PR pros can help to navigate these choices, as well as continue to foster the relationships in those communities.
Although placement in specific verticals is an important tactic for lead generation, visibility in top-tier media like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times can't be neglected either. Though perhaps bottom-line results won't immediately be available, there's no denying the lingering cachet of these print publications, despite a growing emphasis on digital platforms.
While a recession means streamlining operations and tightening up budgets, it is best to remember the long view when planning. Repeatedly we hear of the success of long-term-focused organizations that were savvy enough to see value in looking beyond the obvious, even during an economic downturn.