Budget day is one of the big political set pieces. It generates acres of press across all media, and with it considerable PR opportunities.
But should law firms and their PR teams look to chase headlines, or leave the accountants to have their moment in the sun?
Press teams face considerable challenges on Budget day, not least the pushing out to press meaningful commentary that stands out from the noise.
Simply emailing a line at 4pm saying that the Chancellor has changed entrepreneurs’ relief or SDLT rates will not cut it.
The Evening Standard’s Simon English agrees. He told PRs on Monday (9 March) that “there is no point being one of the 97 people telling us what we can figure out from watching the telly”.
The accountancy firms – even modest firms – will create a Budget ‘war room’ with armies of specialists offering comment minute by minute throughout the Chancellor’s speech, then pouring over the various government press releases for the minutiae. They are very good at spotting the stories.
I am sure there are law firms that do the same.
So what should law (and accountancy) firms do to make the most of Budget day?
Start early. The best work will happen in the week or two leading up to the Budget. Consider Budget predictions or a survey of clients asking what they would like to see in the Budget. Pre-Budget press is easier to secure.
Line up opportunities in advance. Regional firms may want to approach local BBC, local newspapers and business magazines offering to spend the afternoon with them to share with readers and listeners the Budget implications as they happen.
Targeted comment. Pick a key industry sector and focus efforts there. Well-placed commentary in an important trade title may be easier to secure and make more of an impact on clients and prospects.
Wait. Budget day noise can be hard to break through with comment and reaction on the headline announcements. Take some time, review the press releases, and offer a journalist a one-on-one briefing or article that examines the issues clients might face.
“there is no point being one of the 97 people telling us what we can figure out from watching the telly”.