Comms in 2024: Stretching Budgets & Making Magic

Feb 21, 2024

For those of us in comms, if 2023 was the (third) year of uncertainty, 2024 has brought clarity.

Once-robust budgets have been stripped, and unfortunately, layoffs and reorgs have transformed an already bumpy landscape - for client companies, communications agencies and the media.

Head-spinning and competitive news cycles, leaner newsrooms, and an increasing number of channels to manage have to be navigated with smaller internal teams and reduced agency budgets. This after burnout years and too often the added stress of having to relay news of down-rounds, layoffs and budget cuts to their colleagues and friends (and to the press).

But, just as many startups are born in a downturn, leaner times create an environment ripe for innovation. Stretching budgets and making magic with less is part of why The Key was created, so senior counsel and top results could be had at any stage.  And so we could flex into the shape and structure to meet a moment - as a single counselor, a time-bound project, or new partner.

We were built for high-impact, low-bullshit communications, meaning we’re agile, efficient, and do all we can to stay true to our mission of telling a new story. We’ve been embedded right into comms departments, working as extensions of internal teams, and can bridge among executive leadership, engineering, and product.

Our very first client (who remains a client) replaced a seven-person team from a global agency with two of us - and we’ve helped navigate an acquisition, rebrand and growth since. We’re all having to rethink structure and spending to meet a reality that came crashing hard and then continued to reverberate in waves.

It’s time to be creative, Speak Truth, say no, and rebuild.

How do we do it?  We’re adaptable and make strategic use of your resources - we flex, so you can succeed. Check out some of the ways we’ve done it in the past, and let us know if you’ve got a puzzle we might help solve.

Success Stories

Our track record speaks for itself. From revitalizing stagnant campaigns to spearheading major product launches, The Key has consistently delivered results that exceed expectations. Our clients praise our ability to make a tangible difference, even in the most challenging situations.

Discord came to The Key in early 2020 when their goal was to invite everyone onto the platform to talk with their friends and participate in their communities. The company was just starting to build its own internal communications team and needed support in relaunching from a gamer-centric audience to expand to all consumers. The Key brought in a team to create user stories and worked with reporters who used these various examples to illustrate that Discord was a place for everyone.

Stepping in as an interim communications leader at Lending Club, The Key played a crucial role in guiding the company through a major transition and assembling a new team. Our assistance included crisis communication management to steer the company towards a new era under new leadership. With our help, they recruited essential personnel, including new heads for the communications and marketing departments, while also leading internal communications, where our external viewpoint and expertise helped re-stabilize a team after major change.

We’ve worked with Shopkick since The Key’s early days (after launching it at a prior agency), and they are our longest-running client. The Shopkick team needed efficient, powerful strategic muscle and counsel, and brought us on board. We replaced a seven-person team with two Key principals and immediately made an impact with creative storytelling and killer results. We supported both marketing and comms, helping to unify the two teams, and established thought leadership for executives for the first time through executive commentary and events.

The Future of Agency 🤝 Corporate Comms Teams

As we move through 2024 and beyond, the landscape of corporate communications will continue to evolve when it comes to navigating budget fluctuations and team restructure. The Key is not just a service provider, we are your strategic partner in navigating these changes. Our commitment is to ensure that your PR and communications department is not only resilient but also thriving, regardless of all this change.

Take the Next Step

Ready to do more with less? Contact The Key (  and let's discuss how our team can amplify your communications efforts in 2024 and beyond.

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