The American International Group (AIG) recently retained Burson-Marsteller for its public relations services. Still, it suspended corporate advertising and other paid media outreach to offset the cost.
In a recent post, I briefly discussed the issue of using PR first and foremost in a financial crisis. I mentioned how extremely important it is for a company to effectively communicate with its stakeholders when they have many concerns and pessimistic views. While advertising and other marketing efforts are important aspects of the overall success of a company and its brand, PR is cheaper and more effective in this situation.
AIG says it hired Burson-Marsteller to help respond to the huge volume of requests for information from customers, employees, and the media, reports PRWeek. This is an issue for many companies right now, especially those in the financial industry.
But, this overwhelming brigade of questions and concerns from different stakeholders can be a good thing ... as long as your company has effective strategies and tactics to communicate with your stakeholders and adhere to their concerns.
So, many companies, like AIG, are seeing the need for strong PR in a financial crisis. While this may be a bad time for the financial industry, it could prove to be a good time for the public relations industry.
PR firms must emphasize the importance of telling the truth and telling it fast. Still, in-house departments must communicate this strategy to executives as well. As we slide deeper into financial turmoil, the need for two-way communication is vital to any company wishing to keep its head above water.