I’ve been hearing so much gloom and doom lately about the recession. And how it spells disaster for marketing in general and premium brands in particular. Consumers aren’t shopping as much, they’re only looking for value, blah, blah, blah.
It’s obviously true that consumers change behavior during a recession (just look at Wal*Mart’s performance versus Target recently). But, I think there’s a big opportunity for brands to adapt to provide a new story. As Seth Godin describes it:
"Starbucks was the indulgence of a confident person happy to blow $4 on a cup of coffee. Starbucks can become the small indulgence for the person who just traded down to a small rented apartment."
I think the key is to keep your cool, avoid the temptation to drastically cut budgets, and take a fresh look at your brand in the light of the recession. Rethink the role your brand can plan for your consumers now.
The brand where I work, method, was founded in the dotcom bust, and Inc. recently published an interesting article on companies like method that started in a recession. It includes this great quote from Eric Ryan, "Starting a business in a recession is like vacationing in the off-season. It’s a little less crowded, and everything starts going on sale."
Anyway, all of this reminded me of the classic over-simplified "This is Your Brain on Drugs" public service ad from the 80’s (which is embedded in pop culture if you grew up in the US). But, rather than leave it with the depressing "any questions?" from the original ad, I wanted to flip that convention around with a bit of optimism.
Because I do think there’s room to be optimistic. Even with bad news on the doorstep.