For many corporate leaders, there is no shortage of hard messages to be delivered. Everyday, it seems, the media recount the latest round of workforce reductions, plant closings, and product recalls. Employees, investors and other stakeholders increasingly demand not only information, but also explanations and plans for corrective action. In difficult times companies are faced with tough decisions. There is a tendency to cut back on services such as marketing and public relations. However, placing an emphasis on marketing and public relations can actually work to a company’s advantage.

There is no better time to invest in your corporate reputation than during an economic slowdown. It is how your business can survive the downturn and thrive upon recovery. It can help motivate employees, reassure investors, and retain customers during difficult times. An aggressive communication component is a key strategy during a down economy. It’s also a great time to stay one step ahead of the competition.

An expanded communications effort can help restore an organization's focus. It’s easy to lose sight of your mission when you’re struggling to maintain profitability or defend market share; there can be a tendency to stray away from the principals and values that form the foundation of the business. Communication initiatives are opportunities to get back to basics. And now is the time to establish your company’s reputation when you step up and talk about the adversity you’re experiencing and what you’re doing to overcome it.

A solid communications plan during a stagnant economy must be positive and not always negative. Most of your competitors are in a similar position, so be the first to tell everyone why and what your plan is for achieving better performance. In communicating externally and internally it is important to develop a series of key messages you want to convey. Depending on the audience, you may want to tailor your key messages. However, the key messages should be balanced in dealing with the problems and the vulnerabilities of the company with its strengths and opportunities.

A public relations firm can help you figure out how to best position your business to take advantage of market opportunities, including the economy’s inevitable upswing when it occurs.