How your brand can survive a recession


Open neon sign lit up in the dark

It’s not just you: brands everywhere are cutting back on spending, freezing hiring and slashing away at budgets. If you’re facing an economic squeeze, you can still win during a recession. After all, marketing is absolutely essential to your business. It shouldn’t be treated as a “nice to have”, but rather as a core cog in the machinery of your operation. So make wise moves with your marketing budget now, and you’ll be able to survive a harsh winter and even emerge with more market share. 

Brands have been through recessions before. Here’s how they survived. 

Some of the largest brands in the world only got there by growing while others shrank during recessions. In 2008, McDonald’s gobbled up market share from Burger King and KFC with a combination of exploiting cheaper advertising space, adding affordable premium coffee to give more reasons to visit throughout the day, and adopting a lower pricing strategy. They used the opportunity that the recession brought, and reinforced the strength of their brand to their target audience. Businesses that innovated and took strides to react to the needs of their customers came out on top.

Adapt your messaging

It may sound obvious – but is your messaging reflecting the reality of your customers right now, or are you selling something they don’t want to hear? 

Ling Koay, Chief Brand Officer at Oneflow, joined our latest episode of Storykit Talks to bring her expertise: “Instead of talking about the dream scenario that you can have, our messaging is now talking about how you can maximize the investment that you have already made”. Look at your messaging across the board, from advertising to customer support: are you being compassionate, reflecting the needs of the day and inspiring your audience to stay with you? "Think about the cost of doing nothing", said Ling Koay.

Justify your brand budget by measuring its success

How do you justify every last penny / dime / cent of your brand marketing budget? By knowing what works and why. There are two ways you can do this; the top down approach and the bottom up approach. They may be all too familiar to you, says Ling - but a refresher won’t hurt! 

The bottom up approach from Benet and Field is a really simple calculation: your brand’s share of search. Compared to your competitors on Google Trends. If you have a drop in your share of search, you can be sure that six months later, you’ll see a drop in sales. It’s a correlation they’ve proven time and time again. So it’s crucial to establish a share of search metric in your company and invest in improving it. 

The bottom down approach starts by identifying the market size of your category. If you went to the bank today, how much would they value your industry? Then, you correlate your percentage of share you have in that total addressable market. And then you get the percentage of market share. 

While a brand is running a marathon, marketing is running in sprints. Because while you can measure and change marketing strategies daily, you can't really change your brand tactic, because your strategy remains the same. 

Nail down your content strategy, and fast.

“Content that’s all over the place won’t stick, so build a content engine based on your brand beliefs”, said Ling Koay, Chief Brand Officer at Oneflow. Your goal is to become top-of-mind when a customer is considering their options, and to do that, you need to add to your brand’s footprint: while ebooks, whitepapers and blog articles all have their place – to be remembered, you’ll need to think about what your consumer is consuming: it’s probably videos.

Sounds expensive, we hear you say. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can repurpose existing content, from re-using old assets from shoots to using new formats to tell the same stories: make more from what you already have. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel!

Ling Koay, Chief Brand Officer at Oneflow, joined episode 10 of Storykit Talks to bring her expertise at the helm of the Oneflow brand and shared what she’s learned from other brands in recessions and her favorite brand-building tactics with our Marketing Director, Jonna Ekman. Listen to the podcast here, or watch it on demand, here.

Give us a few minutes and we’ll show you just how easy life can be when you Storykit it.

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