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New Recession, New Rules.

Unfortunately no two downturns are exactly alike and therefore in every recession

marketers find themselves in un-chartered waters. During recessions, of course,

consumers set stricter priorities and will inevitably reduce their spending. And, as

sales start to drop, businesses typically cut costs, reduce prices, and postpone new


But as a Harvard Business Report from earlier this year points out, failing to support

brands or examine core customers’ changing needs can jeopardize performance over

the long term. Companies that put customer needs under the microscope and take a

scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget are more likely than others to

flourish both during and after a recession.

‘What is critical for marketeers to understand is the change in required messaging’,

writes Bernard Goodman for Media Invest UK. ‘Consumers no longer want flashy

campaigns and short term price reductions. Instead, they are more interested than

ever in the brand histories and backgrounds of products they chose to buy’. In a

recent luxury brand survey conducted across the UK, consumers expressed a greater

interest in a brand’s background and history than in current advertising.

This all points to the importance of allocating for the long term. ‘When sales start to

decline, companies shouldn’t panic and alter a brand’s fundamental proposition or

positioning,’ said Katie Bridgeman of The Brand Archivists in a recent interview

focusing on brand opportunities within recession. ‘Rather they need to communicate

their core brand identity via the history and stories that created them. It is in this

history that consumers find the real brand truths, shown not told, and through these

brand stories the consumers can develop a deeper affinity to the brand without the

smoke and mirrors..and cost..of yet another marketing campaign.’

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