With all the talk of double-dip recessions and global uncertainty many companies will be looking to cut costs, but according to Justine Smith, PR Director at KISS Public Relations, putting a big thick red line through public relations and marketing budgets is a knee jerk reaction which could have catastrophic effects. Justine explains, “This reaction, rather than saving valuable money, could prove to be very damaging to a business. Many companies have gone under during previous recessions as a result of cutting PR and marketing and consequently dropping off the radar of the media, shareholders, and current and potential customers.” She continued, “Ken Clarke, former chancellor recently claimed it could take another five years to “get back to economic normality”. If businesses have no profile during this period of uncertainty their chances of being around to see the end of the tough times will be significantly diminished. “Rather than slimming down communications efforts, this is the time to start boosting them up. Now, more than at any other time, businesses need to be concentrating on maintaining the trust of their customers and prospective customers by regularly communicating with them and letting them know what the company is doing. “If you have any positive news, let the media know. This might be a new contract win, an award, positive annual or quarterly results or support of a company charity event. Pick up the phone or send an email to your local newspaper or regional business magazine and tell them the good news. Business editors are always interested in success stories, particularly when times are hard. “Public relations is also one of the most cost efficient tools available, which can be a blessing when times are hard. “PR can achieve great things, even if the allocated budget is quite modest. Online public relations, using Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn can be very good value and cost effective. Membership to networking organisations can also offer opportunities for PR, with inclusion on web sites and member magazines. “Companies can also participate in business forums and message boards to let people know they have an opinion on what is happening in the economy and keep their profile raised. “Finally, ezines can be a very effective and cost-efficient way of communicating with customers and stakeholders on a regular basis. “Recessions are a natural part of the economic cycle,” concludes Justine. “Businesses should try not to react by cutting the very tools that could help keep their heads above water. KISS Communications and KISS Public Relations were both set up during this latest downturn. Our award-winning business has continued to thrive year on year, despite the challenges. Part of our success can be attributed to the fact that we practice what we preach; making a significant investment in PR, adverting and marketing, using a range of tools from media relations, ezines, social media, advertising in local, regional and trade press and sponsorship of high profile industry events. “Attracting and winning major blue chip clients such as Anglian Water, SISK and Plasti-kote and successful SMEs including One Nucleus, Balancing Blooms and Plus Partnership is evidence that using PR and marketing to raise your profile does deliver a return on investment.”