What did you do in the war?

Tomorrow's Business

Ad giant WPP issued a predictably tough trading update today, but there was at least a nod of hope in the direction of the PR industry.

Amid the cost cutting and the tumbling of revenues was this line: “In some markets, we are seeing additional demand in our PR and specialist communications businesses.”

So advertising and marketing budgets are being cut. But PR is not.

That’s good news if you are a flak. It also seems to me entirely sensible.

If you are a car company, there is no point trying to persuade me to buy a new car at the moment. But I do need reassuring and persuading that you are behaving well, looking after your people, doing the right thing wherever possible.

The price to be paid otherwise will be high.

One City PR put it to me like this: “Memories are long after a crisis. Clients might do some things now that when the magnifying glass of history is taken out of the drawer in a year’s time, won’t look so smart. Every decision you take in the crisis is going to be looked at more carefully in the future.”

Sounds right to me. Behaving badly, then saying sorry afterwards à la Mike Ashley, just won’t do.

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