Our PR firm (Vehr Communications) was recently invited to join IPREX, a partnership of more than 60 idependently owned PR firms from North America, Europe, Pacifc Rim and the Middle East.  In addition to being able to provide in-market expertise and experience virtually anywhere in the world, IPREX partners benefit from collective experience.

At a recent meeting in Boston, members shared strategies for managing their firms in the current tough global economy.  I thought I’d share some of their thoughts.

  • Project Revenue Conservatively:  Project revenues conservatively.  Without a contract in hand, do not count on the cash.
  • Manage Cash Flow Aggressively:  In tough times, cash is what matters.  Stay close to your accounts receivables.  Don’t let them drift, they may find their way back. 
  • Retainer v. Project:  We all like retainer work.  In tough economic times, though, it might be time to do some project work to keep your people busy, keep some cash flowing, and develop some new relationships.
  • Stay Close to Your Clients:  They’re struggling, too.  Communicate even more often.  Be flexible, but be smart. 
  • Stay In Touch:  If client contacts are laid off, stay in touch with them.  They’ll turn up somewhere and it could end up being a new client.
  • Sell PR as a Value:  Often, PR is part of a company’s marketing budget.  When corporate says, “cut the budget 25%,” make sure your client understands that the value of PR per $ spent is significantly higher than the value of advertising.  It is also true that advertising compromises a signfiicantly larger part of the budget than PR.  Fight for share of spend to maximize your client’s share of voice.
  • Strategy – Play to PR’s Strengths:  In tough times, solid strategy, exciing but disciplined creative and painstakingly consistent execution is more important than ever.  Your client’s competition is confronting some of the same issues, so figure out how to be smarter and do more with less.  Position your client to win in the down-cycle so they can dominate when the market returns.  In tough times, you can gain more ground with less if you do it right. 

These ideas, and others, are from folks who have been through several tough downturns like this.  They’ve come out the other side stronger and smarter.

I appreciate the wisdom and experience of my IPREX partners and hope it helps you as well.