Inflation is on a roll with the UK at a record high of 9.9%, the EU at 10.00%, the U.S. near to a 40-year high, and oil and gas prices soaring across Europe. Are we heading for a global recession? There’s a 98% chance of it apparently according to some pundits – while some say we’re already in one! As businesses look to manage costs during this disruptive period, marketing and PR budgets come under review. But as our own research during the pandemic found out, in the B2B world and particularly where our high tech clients are operating, this is an opportunity to show your business value to help companies ride the rough waters. So we’re throwing it back to our blog from the beginning of the pandemic to see how brands can weather the storms of uncertainty and come out the other side with a marketing and PR campaign that delivers real long-term value!

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – your brand is your biggest asset but it can’t be built in a day. In times of prosperity, but also critically in tough times, consistent messaging and earned media placements are crucial to signal brand confidence to potential buyers.

At IBA, we say dare to be different! Maintain a strong brand presence and this positions your brand as a true pioneer – it worked for Amazon after the dot-com bubble burst after all!

How a scaled B2B marketing and PR approach can help demonstrate leadership during global disruption

Targeted PR and marketing are even more necessary to ensure our businesses do not neglect their brand positioning and messaging. It is in times like these that businesses must be brave with their PR and marketing operations to maintain a brand’s stature and positioning. Shutting up shop and bringing all external communications and activities to an abrupt halt does not signal confidence – it indicates that a business is effectively grinding to a halt, with limited product innovation, forward planning and sales momentum.

Don’t fall off the radar

In the B2B space, where long buying cycles eventually lead to multi-million-pound sales, it is essential to inspire confidence that your business operations are safe, operational and accessible and that you maintain full ability to help clients navigate their own challenges.

Media-facing activities such as thought leadership, steady streams of helpful and interesting blogs and a consistent social media presence will help demonstrate your business continuity. Engaging top-tier trade media with this content also communicates that your business is alive and kicking at a critical time when competitors may be finding their feet but failing to establish their media presence.

“We hear your pain” – our solutions have a role to play

If internal content creation and asset libraries are stagnating, look to identify emerging topics and how existing content can be repurposed to fulfil this role – for example, pull out stories relating to supply chain, AI, and robotics – with a few pertinent edits, the new market situation may suddenly give these stories a new lease of life. But above all think about the problems that users are meeting in coping with current difficulties and how your product can be helpful to overcome them – if not immediately, then in the future. B2B is a long game and now is the time they are receptive to your message.

Now is the time to explore how your solutions offer genuine solutions to issues posed by the current disruptions. Can emerging technologies such as automation and AI be deployed to fill capability gaps from labor shortages and inexperienced workers? Can solutions be verticalized to assist with shortfalls elsewhere?

Because it is so topical, you will have a captive audience

Once you’ve identified the part your business has played, you need to shout about it. Solutions that offer the potential to address critical issues in society and enterprise will remain in the company hopper if they don’t make the news – and as we say at IBA, news is only news once it appears in print. External communication is a necessity.

Mutual benefits: business needs the media, the media needs you

The media too has to cope with the troubled times and fewer staff. Journalists are crying out for content and insights to keep them informed and fill column inches.

Any business seen taking confident and sensible strides forward in troubled times will be seen as a frontrunner and bellwether for the industry as a whole – and this is exactly the type of brand perception we look to maintain.

IBA always advocates a strategy to signal business continuity and momentum and above all success.

At IBA, it’s all about playing the long game and building long term value that outlasts any economic storm!

Jamie Kightley is Head of Client Services at IBA International.

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