Tighter budgets and uncertainty make people less inclined to buy. It’s hard to commit when you’re not sure what the next few months will bring, and even harder if the budget just isn't there. But, people who aren’t looking to commit are still open to seeing what’s out there and finding out what they like. Recession-time is dating-time for brands and their audiences, and brand marketing is the name of the game.
Mirror the market
This is a roundabout way of saying that it makes sense to align your marketing focus with where the market is at – if you notice that your lead capture efforts are quieting down, the knee-jerk reaction could be to throw more budget, time and effort at lead gen tactics. But what we’ve learnt from previous recessions is that you’ll likely be throwing good money after bad.
So, what do you do? You start dating. For your brand, that is. Shift your focus to creating and distributing content that’s aimed at getting your brand seen and understood – make it decision-making and help your target market develop their relationship with your brand. Because that relationship is one of the most valuable things you can have. A person’s relationship to a brand often trumps all the other rational decision-making that we imagine goes into buying decisions. Whether that’s by biassing the comparison of alternatives or simply ruling out the alternatives altogether.
Just remember, this is dating. Not The Bachelor. Resist the temptation to make this about getting people to sign up or buy in the short term. Let this be about getting the market acquainted with your brand, no strings attached.
Checklist for marketing your brand during a recession
How do you get your target market to fall in love with your brand? Here’s a checklist of the kind of tactics and content you should aim to share.
Step one: Make sure they know that you exist.
Consider expanding where you show up - if your audience is there, create content that’s optimised for discovery and consumption behaviour on that platform. You want to be as visible as possible, so put money behind this and go broad. You could redirect the budget from underperforming lead gen ads - it’s going towards the same goal, you’re just driving the process from an earlier stage in the customer journey.
This kind of content is short, memorable, and makes a clear connection between your brand name or logo and the brand identity and values or mission. You want people to know your name and what to think of when they see or hear it. They don’t need the details, they just need to make the connection.
Step two: Let them know who you are
At this point, people have seen your brand around, they know your name, but that’s about it. So, keep going broad when it comes to distribution & targeting (and re-targeting) – this is when you get them to go from aware to curious.
This content should help the audience understand what kind of brand you are – but don’t just tell people what values and characteristics your brand has, show them! How well does it work when a person walks up to you and says “Hey, I’m really cool!”?
Yeeeaah. Not half as well as it would have if they had just been cool.
Moral of the story: Be your-brand-self. How? Storytelling. Let the audience connect the dots themselves, it’s really so much more effective than giving them a list.
Step three: Create a connection
So, if we get back to our Tinder analogy for just a second, we’ve come to the part where you start chatting with a smaller portion of the dating pool. In other words, it’s tiiiiime toooooo segmeeeeeent! Start targeting narrower segments of your audience so you can speak specifically to their experience.
Create content that resonates with each segment’s perspective, problems, preferences or frame of mind. You want to show that your brand gets them, and what they care about. Connect your brand to something (relevant) that stands out to them, in a way that reflects the kind of brand that you are and the role you would play in their lives
3 Video Script Templates for Brand Marketing
It’s all very well giving you brand marketing advice that could double as some kind of dating manual. What you really need is a way to get it done, right? Very well. Here are three video templates that you can use, today, to create the brand marketing content outlined in the checklist. The great thing about these video templates is that each one is designed around a narrative structure that weaves the power of storytelling into your videos, helping you create more effective content that drives your results.
Not sure what narratives and storytelling have to do with anything? Check out this article: Storytelling: the secret sauce of high-performing marketing content.
Why do I need to use video for brand marketing?
You don’t. You could adapt these templates and use the outline to create a blog post or carousel. BUT. Video is just so much more effective when it comes to getting your audience’s attention and getting your message across. Why? Two things:
Something is happening right away, right in front of your audience that draws them in. There’s no initial weighing up of whether it’s worth consuming a video, like you would with a blog post or something that requires more active engagement. It just happens. And that’s really essential for getting the broad reach that you need for brand marketing. (In light of this: Thank you for reading - I appreciate you).
2. Automated. Bite. Sized. Chunks.
There’s something about length that scares people off. But like a good Typeform form, you don’t really notice the length of the video before you start watching. If the first chunk is interesting, you wait for the next, and if that’s interesting too, you wait for the next. So, if you do your job right (super easy with these templates) your audience is just going to stick around until your entire message has been served.
Enough beating around the bush. Here are the templates.
Make sure your target market knows that you exist with this video template
This format might be simple, but if you choose the right message, it's also very effective. Lead with a strong statement, back it up with a quote, add supporting visuals and you're good to go.
Let your audience get to know your brand with this video template
Bring in some storytelling with this template - instead of telling people what kind of brand you are, show them, with a story that illustrates what you're all about.
Create a connection to your brand with this video template
Show your target market that you care about what they care about by connecting their problems or goals to your brand mission.
Aah, I see you’re wondering what happens next…
When good times come around, lead capture starts ticking and budgets fill out again, all this brand-dating you’ve been working on will pay off. Because your target market will know exactly which brand they want to live happily ever after with.