Economic Indicators May be Down, but Brands' Outlook Should be Up
A new year is a time to reminisce, put things in perspective and plan forward.
However, in Lebanon, it appears as though people and businesses alike (many of them anyway) are on a standstill. Perspective and forward planning are blurred. Through different chats with clients, industry friends and others, we have found one underlying theme: "Maybe we should wait for the situation to get better" (no news here, we know!)
We understand very well that economic indicators for Lebanon are dreadful; we also understand that the political situation is emotionally draining at best and we get that people are fearful. But here’s our question: For how long should people stand still? For how long should they keep their projects and ambitions bottled up?
For many of us, this whole song and dance about "waiting for the situation to get better" might as well become our national anthem... We can’t remember when it wasn’t the case. More importantly, we fear that waiting on the sidelines for things to get better may be just like adding oil to fire: if businesses were to stop their activities and people were to stop their purchases, doesn’t this just make things worse for the economy?
From where we stand, people still need to go to the supermarket, take their kids out, go to the gym, learn new skills, seek medical/wellness services, etc. So the challenge for brands is to make their offer more relevant and more appealing than ever! Create compelling insight-based content, break your targets down more strategically, do A/B testing on your online ads, create persuasive offers and find new opportunities. Most importantly, in doing so, make sure you remain true to your brand promise.
During the economic crisis of 2008, many brands came out with their heads held high, including Netflix, Amazon & Hyundai. Netflix tapped into consumers' willingness to cut back on entertainment and saw its subscribers' base increase significantly (based on their delivery rentals model at the time), Amazon’s revenue saw an incline due to the appeal of the Kindle both in the States and international markets and Hyundai, after years of correcting its image and its product, caught consumers attention (as they were reeling from the recession) by offering to take back a car that is financed or leased by a worker who subsequently loses his job; this assurance program was not only a marketing hit, it also offered a psychological boost to consumers.
So yes, times are tough but brands should be tougher and do their best to survive these times (i.e. don’t lay low). Brands that do generally come out tougher and have fewer brands to compete with.