• Tracey Gordon

Market inflection points -- Knowing the perfect time to act after a rough patch

I’ve worked on a lot of comeback stories throughout my communications career. In fact, each job came at a particularly challenging time for the company or industry -- market crashes, fighting back competitors, performance problems, significant loss of assets or reputation etc. But what I found, is that tough situations can be a PR person’s dream assignment. After all, you have the opportunity to bring energy and renewed visibility back to an organization and its key stakeholders. And, that's always been good business and it feels really good.

But, timing is everything in a recovery tale. If you’re too early, you might still be stuck with the residue of the problems that resulted in all that bad news, and you’ll quickly see those uncomfortable topics come right back up. Go too late and your story is already out there and you haven’t participated in the framing or direction of the narrative. Even worse, you’re ignored while your competitors drive conversation and take market share.

So, finding the right moment is key.

I call it “inflection point PR” and if you do it well, the value to the company is enormous.

Why is inflection point PR so valuable to an organization?

It begins the road back for a company that has had a rough ride.

It allows management to talk about lessons learned and showcase changes worth talking about.

It gives you an opportunity to brag about your recovery.

If you're public and your stock has risen it's another bragging point.

But, inflection points are easy to miss.

When things have been tough, even disastrous, an organization can feel exhausted and just wants to continue to hunker down.

It becomes so used to the bad news that it misses the fact that there's actually good news to talk about.

It may feel it’s much safer to continue to say “no” to telling a recovery story; assumes it’s safer to just not talk.

Companies that are tuned into the inflection point, know that a shift to telling a positive story can help them regain industry leadership and voice.

Everyone loves a comeback story and PR people should know how to do these.

So, what do comeback companies have that others do not?

A real story and the proof points to give it credibility.

They're comfortable being a leader and proud to tell their recovery story.

They want their employees, customers, shareholders to share in and champion the story.

They have a management team that is excited to tell the story.

And they have a CEO who just loves telling the story, tells it well and makes you want to listen -- because it’s absolutely fascinating and is a compelling business lesson.

So I say to the C-suite: If you’ve got a PR person who is a pro, who has been through cycles before, who understands the media and what makes it tick, trust their instincts when they signal that an inflection point is coming and know that's your signal to just GO.

Ready, set, GO!!!!

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