Strong Brands: Consumers’ Security Blankets in Uncertain Times
These past months, not to say years, leave even the optimists uneasy, anxious and pondering on how to handle personal finances, savings and future purchases... while trying to keep the shirt on their back!
According to The Economist, "Lebanon’s economy has long been sluggish. Now a crisis looms."
This, along with social conversations about the potential of a currency devaluation, is enough to make anyone panic and shift into survivor mode. Apparently, shopping carts are getting smaller, discretionary purchases less frequent...
The consumer is daunted.
Reassurance is needed.
Recognizable brands to the rescue.
This is where brands can step up (not down) and reaffirm their trustworthy names and trademarks. Uncertain consumers need reassurance from preferred and well-known brands. As integral parts of their consumers’ lives, brands need to make themselves as relevant during hard times as they have in more promising times. For better or for worse.
After all, let's not forget that the consumer has stepped up in recessions and is ultimately the one person you can rely on to actually turn things around. "In downturns, we must credit the undaunted consumer as the hero who came to the rescue with largely unaltered spending and optimism." (Capturing Opportunities in Challenging Times, DDB - 'The Yellow Paper Series')
Shouldn’t brands extend the same courtesy to consumers?
Moreover, from a 'bottom line' point of view, a recession is no time to cut on marketing and communication budgets. Any marketing aficionado can tell you that when brands cut spending in a recession, they will not only lose in sales, but in brand value overall, and worse yet they will clear the way for other brands to come and sweep away a piece of the pie. Whereas brands that increase advertising during a recession, as competitors are cutting back, can improve both their market share and return on investment at a lower cost than during good economic times.
"There is ample empirical evidence that budget cuts during recessions in marketing and advertising have both short-and-long term negative impact." (Capturing Opportunities in Challenging Times, DDB –'The Yellow Paper Series')
So, the specialists know it and the academics have written about it; it’s time for brands to action it: Advertising during a difficult times doesn’t just make sense, it can also lead brands to uncharted territories of greatness and market leadership.