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21 April 2015

There IS such a thing as bad publicity

PR is catching on like never before. For years, realising the value of a strong, carefully planned PR campaign has been lost on some and low on the priority list – often the first to go when a business runs into trouble.

It would seem that PR has turned a corner, however. The PRCA recently reported that 76% of PR and communications professionals believe that board directors see a strong link between reputation and company financial performance, with 87% of CEOs supporting PR.

Here at ThinkPR, we are firm believers that PR should be proactive and that a long-term, strategic approach is needed, so when the hard times hit, the reputational damage to your company is minimal.

Never before has this been so relevant for the oil and gas industry. Last year’s drop in oil price and the continuing uncertainty has been a massive reality check for operators and service companies alike. Across the board, budgets are becoming leaner, projects are being placed on hold or cancelled and most worryingly for many, thousands of jobs are being cut.

Reuters reported in March that oil prices are set to stabilise in the second half of this year, before rising in the following years. The impact of the current slump, however, will still be felt during this time, with as many as 35,000 jobs expected to go in the next five years.

It can be argued that whilst proactive, positive PR is hugely important, planning out internal and external communication during challenging times is an even bigger no-brainer. There’s not just traditional PR to think about either - internal communications, digital communication and stakeholder management are all areas which need to be carefully considered.

Let’s not forget about that positive PR though. In a time when survival of the fittest has never been more apt, communicating that your business is shrewd, sustainable and can ‘ride the storm’ can set you apart from the competition.

It’s a lot to think about, we know. But in a time when news travels more quickly than ever before, forgetting to consider internal and external communications can cause significant, irreversible reputational damage. This is one reason why we think that senior level management are buying into PR like never before, but don’t just take our word for it – read some of our testimonials and you’ll see the impact that PR has made across various types of businesses.

Don’t spend all that time building up a strong, positive profile to then forget about communication when it matters the most.