I was preparing the traditional review of the year for yesterday’s IoD Aberdeen committee Christmas dinner and looked out the notes for 2008. I realised that I could almost have got away with delivering the same messages.
In December 2008 we had already been forced to recognise that the ‘Credit Crunch’ was much more than a blip. It was going to be a full-blown recession and probably one of the deepest we have seen in more than a generation.
Last year, I had referred to the chamber breakfast on the economy in November 2008. The first speaker, Nick Parsons of nabCapital, had explained how he had made a few checks about the venue and the event before agreeing to speak:
Did the function room windows open?
Was the event to be held in a ground-floor function room?
• Were there to be knives on the breakfast tables?
Well, 12 months on, the economic news is still gloomy as ever.
Against that background, I did have a wry smile while watching The Scottish Conspiracy on BBC this week. The programme talked about how North Sea oil saved the UK economy in the 1970s. They also presented the quote from then government adviser Gavin McCrone.
In a memo, just released under the 30-years rule, he had said that – if the nationalists had got their way – Scotland would “tend to be in chronic surplus to an embarrassing degree”!
Well, instead of being embarrassingly in surplus. Scotland and the UK are embarrassingly deeply in the red as we head towards 2010.
The survivors of this tough economic environment will be those that invest in their brands.
Or as Doug Leone, of Sequoia Capital puts it; “In a downturn, aggressive PR and communications strategy is key”.