The time of your life

You may not realize it, but this is the time of your life. Deep in the depths of the darkest recession I hope we will all face in our lifetimes, you will discover your true mettle. How you respond to the waves of bad news which crash onto us on a daily basis, may well define your future. The seeds of success are sown in adversity.

Will you rise to the challenge? Find within you the strength to redouble your efforts, rethink your approach, cast aside the way that used to work and embrace a new one? Or will you be the victim, controlled by external factors? It’s not your fault.

This recession will be long and hard. Even now we may only be nearing the end of the beginning. If the dotcom bust is anything to go by, many will flee the industry and seek sanctuary elsewhere. They may return when dawn breaks. But they will have missed the lessons learned in the darkest hours. The recession will temper those who have the resilience to get up each day and to give their all. Some of those lessons will be professional, but most will be deeply personal. When daylight comes, you should bear your scars with pride, they will be well-earned.

Recessions are good for our industry. Like a hard winter, they weed out the weaker players and they improve those that remain. This one comes amid changes in the practice of PR – sweeping changes of globalization and disintermediation. No firm will remain untouched – many will struggle but that does not make them bad. If they survive, it makes them stronger.

For emerging agencies, the recession is the opportunity they have been waiting for. Their value shines out. They can zig while others zag. Their management can show how they are different. All the preparation they have done during the boom – developing new techniques and services, building their roster, salting away profits, building the infrastructure – will start to pay off. For them, the recession was the opportunity they wanted, and for them it was fought and won before it began.

Yes, the recession is difficult. Hard decisions will have to be made. These are uncertain times. But uncertainty brings opportunity – for brands, agencies and individuals. So this is the time of your life. You just have to realize it, embrace it and act on it. Good luck.