Bad Economy Becoming All-Purpose Excuse

Last Updated Nov 11, 2008 7:50 AM EST

Here's your PR tip of the week: write yourself a page of new messages that include the phrase "because of the bad economy..."

As in, "Our revenues are flat because of the bad economy." Or, "We have to lay off people because of the bad economy..."

Now, I'm not making fun of companies that are really having serious economic problems as a result of the increasingly perilous economy. But I'm skeptical of companies that are starting to roll out "bad economy" as an all-purpose excuse for whatever goes wrong.

Take Circuit City, for example, which filed for bankruptcy protection Monday. It has been a far less well-managed chain than its main competitors, mainly Best Buy and Wal-Mart, for years, during the good times and now the bad. So it was far than just the "bad economy" that felled Circuit City. But I didn't hear anything about "poor management" in the post mortem about the chain.

Of course, it's convenient and easy to blame the economy rather than taking a look in the mirror.

But I caution you to use the all-purpose excuse sparingly.


Because it's a credibility killer.

Sure, it's a tough economy right now. But the economy isn't to blame for everything. So if you use 'the excuse' and it turns out not to be true, it will make you look foolish. And less believable.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.