– It’s not time for cutbacks or standing still
For over a year, economists have been waiting for a recession to arrive—but it keeps standing them up, and some say it might be called off completely. The resilience of the job market has encouraged economists who believe that the Fed can cool inflation while avoiding mass layoffs—a scenario that Fed officials call a “soft landing.”
With all the talk of a recession, many companies are putting the brakes on their marketing and branding expenses. Cutting marketing budgets may seem like a logical response to an economic slump.
If customers are spending less, businesses naturally reap fewer benefits.
Shouldn’t marketing expenditures decrease as well?
Not if you aim to maintain your market position amidst the shifting economy.
During periods of economic contraction, it can be hard to look beyond the present and catch a glimpse of the bigger picture on the horizon. How a business reacts today will determine your position in the future. By tightening purse strings and reducing or halting branding efforts, risk being swept away by the tide.
On the other hand, maintaining or even increasing marketing & branding efforts helps position your company for an advantage in the future and can enhance brand appeal in the void left by competitors who have halted marketing spend.
Smart companies are investing in brand management through this slower economic cycle.
Savvy branding leaders are not standing still – and many are actively looking at the following to manage through this lower growth phase.
1. Brand Positioning & Messaging
This is a great time to re-think the big idea behind your brand. When was the last time you thought seriously about what your brand stands for and what it delivers to customers?
Undergoing a repositioning can help to define a clear, common understanding both to customers and internal employees (who might need reminding why the company is great especially if there’s been layoffs).
And, the new positioning can be articulated across your business including things like job postings to help define who you are and what you stand for so you can be more confident about hiring the best and brightest recruits..
In addition, messaging frameworks can be created to clarify and amplify your brand narrative by crafting customized messaging that amplifies benefits to specific audience types or personas.
2. Brand Architecture & Naming Policy
Businesses are in a constant state of evolution with new products and services added thanks to improvements of innovation. What does your portfolio of brands look like? Is it time for some reorganization or ‘clean-up’?
Brand architecture is about finding the most optimal way to bring your business’s offerings back into focus. It can help you better cross-promote products and services—and regain control over how your brand is perceived by customers.
Brand architecture is the organizational hierarchy of a company’s brands, sub-brands, products, and/or services. It’s an integrated system of names, symbols, colors, and visual vocabulary that bring clarity to a brand portfolio.
The best brand architectures are logical and intuitive. They map directly to how customers think about a business and the various ways it solves their problems. And, the best brand architecture systems make it easy for customers to understand the relationships between a brand’s various products and/or services, including how each offering meets their unique needs.
And, with a clear brand architecture in place, formal creative naming policies can be established to help companies manage and control how to add new products, services and offerings to a portfolio. These guidelines include recommendations on what types of names to create – branded names versus non-branded/descriptive or even modifier names (when a new product is merely an extension of something that exists already).
Our clever and concise naming decision tools enable brand decision makers to have an objective tool and creates mechanisms for allowing only those products and offerings that are truly innovative, unique and will have marketing spend deserve unique, trademark-able brands.
3. Brand Refresh
Fine-tuning your brand and how it looks is great way to refine your brand perception with your customers, investors and employees—who are all key players in navigating this economic climate. Sometimes a brand update is as simple as giving a tired-looking logo a facelift but it could be more complex such as a complete revamp of your entire visual branding system all the way through to flasgship touchpoints like website or tradeshow.
Such modernization could be a result of antiquated graphics, fonts or colors. Or perhaps the brand is simply no longer resonating with the current marketplace. Such cosmetic changes are generally not as difficult as a complete makeover — however, the results can bring a faltering brand back to the limelight.
Recession. It’s all anyone is talking about. Yes, the predictions are foreboding. But, for savvy marketers, this actually presents a huge opportunity to not only master your marketing during the recession but emerge even stronger after—if you focus on nurturing one thing: your brand.
Never let a crisis go to waste. Companies that make the right decisions can thrive in a recession.