Wednesday, October 22, 2008

PRSA's invasion of Motown

I'll soon be off to the annual PRSA international conference. This year, it's in Detroit.

This location raised a few eyebrows, but I'm told the registration level will be at or beyond previous conference attendance marks. This comes in a down market in a city that is really down in the dumps.

The expected high turnout may be a self-fulfilling statement. As we say in this business, the best time for public relations can be in a down market. It's our opportunity to shine by providing the kind of advice and critical strategies that help a marginal company from going under, and a normally strong company prepare for when the good times return. The companies that eliminate or reduce public relations activities in a down economy routinely find they must spend twice as much in these services to gain back reputation and market share.

I have a client who understands this. They could easily tell me that budget cuts will force them to cancel my contract. And, they may do that. Certainly, the warning sighs are there. But for now, they understand the importance of brand loyalty. They need to remain a positive, steady force in the communities they serve and not give current and future customers any reason to doubt their commitment, loyalty or strength. We like to buy products and services, and invest in companies that we trust, and we know will always be around.

So, I can't wait to hear the seminars, and talk with my fellow professionals in a city that expects snow while we're there. I'll file some observations as the conference runs its course.

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