Why PR is An Important Tool During Times of Downturn like COVID
7 Oct 2020
The fact that it is not business as usual during times of an intense crisis like the one we are currently experiencing is a no brainer. That being stated a crisis by itself can prove to be an opportunity, as has been proved by the frenetic activity reported by healthcare and insurance sectors over the last six month or so. This doesn’t take away from the fact that the ongoing pandemic has pushed us into a recession and most sectors of the economy are struggling to stay afloat.
At times like these, it becomes very important to leverage the power of PR to not just mitigate the ill effects of the pandemic induced economic slowdown, but also to come out on top in the inevitable resurgence that is expected in the post-pandemic period. As a leading PR agency in Mumbai, Star Squared PR works closely with brands and their leadership to enhance their visibility and emerge successful despite the downturn. Here are some of the important ways in which PR could come to the rescue of businesses in the times of Covid-19:
Consumer-facing industries like hospitality (hotels and restaurants), entertainment (multiplexes) and retail (shopping malls) are particularly vulnerable to a loss of reputation and brand value on account of perceived and real fears of exposure to the virus on the part of the customers. In the wake of the incident in Delhi where a home delivery of pizza led to several people getting infected by the virus, pizza delivery major Domino’s stepped up to the plate with its cleverly designed advertising and PR campaign that assuaged the fears of people. They not only took the appropriate safety measures but demonstrated them too.
People knew Domino’s had put in place the most stringent hygiene standards in the kitchens, as well as implemented regular employee screening and the strict adherence to non-contact delivery norms. This not only meant that they could safely order pizza, but also that they could get some semblance of normalcy back into their lives. These are the kinds of things that create goodwill for a brand. People responded quite favourably to the theme underlining Domino’s digital campaign exemplified by the taglines kitne dino se Domino’s nahi khaya and order karna safe hai.
A crisis of this magnitude offers a brand a great opportunity to demonstrate that the brand transcends mere business concerns to connect at a personal and human level with the consumers. This can happen if the effort to connect on that level is a genuine one that can touch a chord with the target audience. PR can actively reach out to the media and obtain coverage that spreads positivity about your brand and enhances its influence among its prospective customers. Star Squared PR, one of India’s most creative PR firms believes that resilience and agility is key during times of crisis. A creative story telling approach with compelling narratives will help brands tide over difficult times.
Diageo India, for example, has promised to use 15 of its manufacturing units to manufacture about 300,000 litres of bulk hand sanitisers. What better way for a liquor manufacturer to obtain positive coverage for its brand in times as fraught as these?
The fact that PR coverage costs considerably less than advertising coverage works substantially to its advantage in times of crisis like the present one. In any case, earned coverage is all about enhancing credibility and that is what brands and businesses need at a time when consumer confidence is at an all- time low. One can leverage people’s need to know that things are going to work out well for them. People need to hear positive reassuring stories and what better way of doing that than through PR?
Creating the right narrative is at the heart of the PR function in today’s times and if one can identify the right kind of compelling idea to do that one is well on the way to building a super reputation for one’s brand.