pr people, stop talking ourselves into the next recession

A comms person who deals direct with industry has a clear message for comms people. Quit the negative talk about the economy.

by Russ Cockburn

Less than two weeks into a new business year and there is already talk of an impending recession and uncertain times ahead.  Great, just the tonic we ordered to start the year off.

Even by January’s depressing standards this is a new low, yet rather than fighting back to dispel the doom and gloom we seem to have numerous business organisations trumpeting the fact and – certain elements of the media - lapping it up.

I know bad news sells, but we are playing a very dangerous game. Too much talk about things taking a turn for the worse and eventually people will start believing the hype.

Even some of my friends - who don’t usually spare a thought for the economy – are expertly predicting dark clouds ahead.

The last thing we want is to put a halt on consumer spending, as that can trigger big investment decisions being put on hold and that ripple turns into a shockwave down the supply chain. And I’m not just talking manufacturing.

Why the sudden negativity after pretty much three years of positive messages and ‘recovery’ being the fashionable word? Well, the Chinese superpower running out of steam hasn’t helped and, whilst we’re enjoying the 99p sensation at the pumps, the price of oil is causing a once buoyant sector to stall.

Impending EU referendum and political unrest across the world are also contributing to the uncertainty.

However, is it really that bad? Are we about to hit another downturn? I can only talk from personal experience, but in the first eight days back I’ve had six new business meetings and all existing clients are looking to maintain - if not increase - their media activity.

The new enquiries have come from manufacturers, solicitors, social enterprises, architects…even a local brewery with an exciting new product launch to promote.

They’re all mindful of the headlines and the sentiment, yet are unwavering in their enthusiasm for meeting the challenges and exploiting the opportunities that lie ahead.

They also share a simmering resentment for all this talk of ‘doom and gloom’ and hold a desire to address the balance with stories of investment, employment, innovation and global orders.

So the message is clear…be positive, be bold and let’s not talk ourselves into the next recession.

Russ Cockburn is director of Cucumber PR.