You don’t need me to tell you the world is going to Hell in a handcart. The latest GDP figures, revealing the first of what could turn out to be several quarterly contractions, provide yet more evidence of that.
So, who would be daft enough to argue you should invest in media relations at a time of such political turmoil and economic uncertainty? Someone, probably, who edited a business magazine in the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008-09, and who remembers the opportunity that arose then for previously less well-known businesses as we journalists looked around for different voices who could articulate the new reality and make sense of it for our readers.
Where previously we had turned by default to the big four accountancy firms, the local offices of international law firms and the high street banks, we instead began listening far more attentively to local and regional firms with viewpoints that reflected the experiences of our readers. Many of those firms continue to command significant coverage a decade later.
Candidly, this was made easier by the fact the biggest players stopped advertising at the end of 2008. In itself this provides a lesson: at times of uncertainty what we used to call “blue-chip” businesses can be relied on to choose consolidation over expansion, leaving a vacuum to be filled by ambitious challengers.
It is tempting to think that in times of economic and political turmoil the public (and that includes businesspeople) only want to hear established voices that provide familiarity and comfort. Experience shows the opposite is often the case.
The old guard have little to add while firms that have not previously enjoyed significant media coverage can provide something that is more important than ever at times like this: new ideas and solutions.
I’m not much of a sailor but I’d bet more yacht races are won and lost when crews are tacking into the wind than when running at full tilt with the wind behind them. Business is no different.
The opportunity is palpable. Now all you need is a partner with the contacts and expertise to establish and maintain your media profile, building your reputation for excellence at a time when it will really count.