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Cutting PR budgets will come at a cost

We are nearing the close of the first quarter of what is predicted to be the worst financial year in history. Interest rates are at their lowest and the high street is in a state of permanent Sale.

Typically, when companies are tightening their belts, PR, among other marketing disciplines, is the first to feel the sharp edge of the executioner’s sword - and people like me are left scurrying around for whatever morsels of marketing budget are left over.

The fashion industry needs to recognise that when times are tough they need to spend more on promoting themselves, not less. In my 20 years of building and maintaining brands, I have seen many a good strategy thrown out of the window in a knee-jerk reaction brought on by blind panic.

The brands that will survive this downturn are the ones who refrain from throwing the baby out with the bath water. According to the Office of National Statistics, month-on-month sales in textiles, clothing and footwear increased by 6.1% in January. So consumers are still spending, but how do you ensure they buy your product and not that of your competitors?

The answer is simple - publicity. Any communications strategy worth its salt will help you meet your business objectives. PR is a sales tool and should be used as such. Retailers are far more likely to invest in a brand that is investing in itself, which will help them move the product once it is on the shelves.

The great news is that in this climate you wi’ll probably get a great deal on a PR campaign.

Every pound spent today is worth two in a growing economy. Those brave enough to bite the bullet will emerge from this fiscal nightmare bigger, better and stronger.

  • Candida Hilton is managing director of Eskimo PR

Readers' comments (1)

  • SDR

    Agreed. In times like these PR spend is necessary to maintain that top-of-mind, but also a rather cost effective way of getting a foot up on your competitors in the long run.

    Working with some of the leading PR agencies here in Cape Town, South Africa on various accounts for what are perceived to be "luxury goods" it appears that very few are cutting back on their '09 budgets. All major work planned towards the end of last year is still being honoured, and certain brands like ghd Hair are even stepping up their efforts.

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