Ian Monk: Green shoots can be PR-led chimera

Suggestions that green shoots of recovery lie anything less than six feet under the economic freeze have been deemed as politically risible.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

However, outside the political arena, PROs with an eye on corporate seem to be less coy about their sightings.

Representing various high profile brands, they have mined a rich seam of positive headlines by announcing plans for new jobs.

In the past week, Asda has announced the creation of another 7,000 jobs; Sky reported 1,000 more jobs and the sandwich chain Subway announced 700 new jobs.

Set against the landscape of mounting job losses, these announcements have been enthusiastically presented by the media as green shoots in full bloom. Their coverage displays none of the cynicism heaped on politicians who dare to suggest glimmers of economic hope.

The media are aware that, although bad news generally sells better than good, recent apocalyptic coverage of economic meltdown is turning away viewers and readers. Thus editors tend to clasp gratefully at any offerings of light amid the gloom.

Smart corporate communicators have grasped this and have created major announcements and news packages from job announcements.

The exaggerated headlines help create a halo effect, positioning the brand as a success to be celebrated and of which it is desirable and even patriotic to be a part. What is effectively free advertising pulls consumers away from competitor brands and offerings.

Never mind that there is an element of optimism and economic braggadaccio about the job creation announcements. In reality no-one can be certain that, as the recession deepens, all the planned jobs will actually come into being.

Expect more astute companies to make light work of the recession by hijacking the media agenda with optimistic job announcements.

Just do not expect any politician to rush to capitalise on them with their own mention of shoots or darling buds.


Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

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