Seven tips for staying in the saddle

What should communication professionals do?

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Writes: Marina Čulić Fischer

 

Do you still remember the recession that began in America in 2008, and the following years, that like wildfires, engulfed the whole world? It was then that we first really understood the meaning of the global village syntagma.

 

Global economy decreased, investments in the lease of media space (source: HURA, Media AdEx) in Croatia in 2009. fell by 18%, compared to 2008, and didn`t cease for the next five years. The first modest growth (of 1%) was recorded in 2014, after which we had a total of four years of further growth, but never returned to our investments from 2008. An additional punch to the Croatian media market was the fall of Agrokor, whose media investments averaged between 8-9% of the total market, which is why 2017 was another negative year for the Croatian media industry.

 

Television, all though declining from 2009-2014 (and then again in 2017) continues to take up most of the media investments in Croatia and this is a trend that will continue for some time.

 

The third group of media that is very important to PR's is print. Unfortunately, the press has been continuously declining for the past 10 years and there is no indication of any immediate recovery. In fact, the year of the Great Pandemic will mean an additional decline in print media and my estimation is that many of them will not experience the second half of 2020.

 

And what is going on with the public relations industry that is so dependent on the media market?

 

Television marketing of business topics has always been problematic due to the very narrow space that broadcasters provide in this field. The space in print media has also been narrowing in recent years, and now that print is struggling for life, it will narrow even more. It is also certain that the space we had in the online media segment will be reduced by the disappearance of small portals.

 

So what is the real situation and what should communication professionals do:

 

  1. Forget about the targets that predict any growth in the reach or value of the given media space. The second quarter is sure to see a fall due to the freezing of business activities and the fall in communications investment, ie shifting business sector priorities. We will not be able to make up for this drop by the end of the year. Redefine your goals.

 

2. Moving communication budgets online and producing content cannot adequately replace other media investments. Money invested in content is not the same as money  invested in media space or media relations or reaching a target audience. Keep in mind the bigger picture.

 

3. Be careful about investments in conferences or other types of events or sponsorships. First, such investments may not give you an adequate return in terms of media value or reach, and second, it is irrational to expect that the (hopefully) autumn recovery of the event industry will have the same effect on communication goals as if the events were evenly distributed throughout years.

 

4. Shift priorities - topics such as Employer Branding or environment protection, which have been trending until recently, have now given space to business sustainability, sales and efficiency making them the focus of management decisions.

 

5. It's time to consolidate your communication efforts - it's completely inefficient for one agency to create content for you, another to run PR campaigns, a third to promote on social networks, and a fourth for influencers marketing, because you don't have the time or money to do it. Give the helm to the partner who has the resources to manage the overall communication and who can get the most out of the "new normal" for you.

 

6. If you are investing in content creation for your own channels, you must also adequately  invest in promotion, otherwise you will not reach your target audience. A budget of a few thousand kunas a year is not considered an optimal budget. Listen to expert advice.

 

7.Think carefully about institutional partnerships. Many public institutions, including non-governmental organizations, have completely changed their priorities and if you don`t follow these changes, you will become irrelevant. Adjust your agendas to theirs.