Most companies tend to cut budgets and staff during a crisis, with PR and marketing teams being one of the first to go. And we have seen it right and left with massive lay-offs in fintech, a continuing trend since 2022. But if this doleful tendency taught us anything, it would be to strengthen a PR team and never underestimate the power of the media. While a cutting-budget strategy could make sense on the surface, it is not an effective way to respond to the reputational challenges a business can face during economic turmoil.
Keep the Audience Updated
Since PR is the key to building and maintaining long-lasting relationships with stakeholders, cutting your company’s PR budget is counterproductive. Instead, financial firms should demonstrate openness, readiness, and a sense of responsibility in times of crisis.
Your company should keep its audience aware of what is happening behind the curtains and how it copes with current market conditions. An established business should have an anti-crisis plan developed by PR, IR and SM teamwise. This plan outlines the main steps on hand, for example, when and who convenes and attends an emergency meeting, how much time is given to create an official company statement, what formats can be used to convey a message: news, a word from the director on the official company website, social media posts, etc.
Regularly updating your company’s investors during a crisis via social media channels and newsletters and having official stances published in respectable media further bolsters the company’s credibility. Depending on the company’s turmoil level, the list of actions would be to arrange wire distribution, a first-person interview with a company representative, and a follow-up publication. The goal is to have stakeholders not worry about the unknown.
Be One Step Ahead of Competitors
While sitting quietly may seem like a safe option in times of crisis, this is a faulty approach. As a former journalist myself, I can assure you that journalists will not stop working on hot stories. As you fail to share anything solid with the media, they may collect and publish misinformation about your company. Moreover, keeping to yourself gives enough space for your competitors to thrive and gain a market advantage.
I recommend showing professionalism and, most importantly, maintaining your PR budget to keep communications going with your clients, investors, and users and stay ahead of the competitors.
Data from analytics, a word from top management, or even the CEO directly – all of these are highly useful tools that help maintain your image in the eyes of the public and showcase that business goes on as usual, even amid economic turmoil.
Understanding the Long-Term Effect of PR
Attending prominent fintech events throughout the past year showed our team how the industry’s small businesses and startups failed to see PR’s value in times of crisis. Yes, the infamous FTX collapse taught many to invest in competent PR. However, fintech newcomers tend to confuse PR with marketing. A frequent request we receive from new-to-the-scene clients is to attract a specific number of customers to their product, goals that can only be achieved with measurable marketing metrics.
PR is about building trust and brand awareness and showing transparency and openness to clients and stakeholders. The results in PR cannot be observed immediately, and trust cannot be gained quickly. And although well-established brands understand the value of our work and stick to investing in PR, small-scale companies tend to consider PR a cost that should be cut first in difficult times. But when the company positions itself as trustworthy and open, assures the audience that it is moving in the right direction, and has great development plans, customer anxiety decreases and trust in the brand increases. This is the value PR specialists bring to our clients during times of crisis.
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