Is PR Recession-Proof? A farm boy asks…

For horse owners, spring means expanding your network of resources to hay suppliers, stables, and farmers who still have hay stocked up and are willing to part with it. Last Saturday, we were fortunate enough to find a farmer in Northern Illinois with plenty to sell. The guy’s son would even help load the truck.

Profit, the horse who sparked the conversation
Profit, the horse who sparked the conversation


As we were loading bails of hay, the kid asked me if I worked with horses for a living. “No,” I said, “just one day a week, I guess. On the other six days, I’m in public relations in Chicago.”
I had expected the typical questions like “What does that mean?” or “Do you know anyone famous?” Instead he asked, “Is public relations recession-proof?”


This shocked me. Why was that his first and only question about PR? He was thinking about career choices and the most important thing to him is an industry’s position in the current economic climate. The source of this thought could have been TV network and cable news. But wait, this was a high school guy and they don’t watch TV news. My conclusion is that on whatever social media sites this kid tapped in to, the recession is being discussed along with PS3 games.


I gave him my standard answer: “Is anything really recession-proof?” He answered, “Yeah, I guess not, except for certain aspects of the entertainment industry and the mob.” Okay, so this kid knows his Sopranos quotes too.

I told him “despite the recession, we’re doing all right. In fact, it’s going to be a great year for PR. More companies will need to use PR to get their messages to consumers. When they see the costs of PR and the results they get compared to advertising, it’s a no-brainer.”


He seemed to get it! He even asked more about the return on investment of PR versus traditional advertising! Maybe this kid will be interested in a PR career. Though he might want to consider following his Dad into the hay business…demand is high, prices are up 25% over last year, and no one is Tweeting about lay-offs.




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