Creating a winning marketing strategy for recession is no more or less creative than marketing in an economic boom. No doubt, many brands will struggle to survive but for some it’s an opportunity to thrive and the absolute right decision will be to get aggressive. After an analysis of competitive strategy and client mindset, that’s the decision I’ve made for The Halo Group. We’re an independent branding and marketing organization that’s well positioned for growth. The demands that a tight economy will put on marketers make us a better choice than many, much larger competitors. We’re doubling down.
Discount retailers, eBay and Subway’s $5 Dollar Foot Long promotion are some obvious winners in an economic downturn. But with some creative thinking there are also opportunities for brands that have lived in the shadows of category giants.
Not everyone will feel the same impact of a recession, but whether immobilized by fear or even a sense of guilt, consumers may become more open minded in their search for more practical, affordable solutions. They’ll need permission to indulge in that luxury purchase. Brands, old and new that position themselves as a “smart splurge” have an opportunity to win. As an example, that’s the position Liebherr, a German newcomer to the US luxury appliance market has taken in their battle against category giants Sub-Zero and Viking, who are entrenched in consumers’ minds. Liebherr products are continuously hailed as technically superior offerings at a lower price point but until now, it was not a game-changer. With the combination of more aggressively promoting their new position and a more malleable consumer, they’ve experienced 3rd quarter sales growth in an economy where kitchen renovation has sputtered.
Large banks have leveraged their size to dominate the financial services market. But financial institutions have become the target of mistrust and thought to be, real or perceived, the cause of many economic consumer woes. Consumers have become more financially savvy about banking products and are reevaluating their loyalty. This is time for credit unions, credible lending institutions to step in and compete head to head with larger banks by offering the value and personal financial planning committed to serving and educating their customers.
Rest and relaxation is most certainly a priority in good times as well as bad. Entertainment choices will change with more emphasis on home entertainment or local getaways. Regional entertainment brands can engage consumers once jettisoned for the hot travel destinations of the moment. Perhaps those travel locations could offer special promotions to provide deeper more exciting experiences that they can share with family and friends and establish relationships that endure long after the turnaround.
Of course every brand has unique variables that need to be evaluated but doubling down in 2013 is not a gamble at all. It’s an investment in short and long-term brand viability based on smart marketing strategy.
By Linda Passante, CEO, The Halo Group
A version of this post first appeared in Modern Entrepreneur Magazine
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