83% of consumers say rising inflation has affected their spending, 69% are concerned about their finances, and 51% say they have unstable household incomes. How can brands convince consumers that their products are worth the money?
Despite the news that inflation is cooling off, prices for many items are still very high. Airline fares, for example, are up almost 40%, and healthcare costs are up 26%. As credit card rates approach 20% and savings dwindle, it doesn’t;t take a genius to figure out that wallets are tightening.
What are brands going to do now?
One of the first things they should be doing is not so much selling the product; instead, they should be selling the experience of the product—for example, that first taste of Breyer’s ice cream or Starbucks coffee. Consumers still like feeling good about what they buy, and your product needs to provide that. You may think your ice cream is excellent, but if it’s got freezer burn at retail, no promotion will move it off the shelves.
The other essential branding component will be customer service and close relationships with their customers. “Your call is important to us” isn’t going to cut it anymore when time is a form of currency. Brands need to be more responsive and talk to customers as people who want questions/complaints answered quickly.
Finally, cutting back on advertising is wrong, but you can’t run the same ads repeatedly. Focus on the brand experience using people who enjoy your brand. Little Ceaser’s, for example, shows people enjoying their products more than showing the product itself. With media focusing on negative headlines to attract clicks, people are spending money on things that make them feel good, and that can include your brand.
One area that has declined significantly is “telling the brand story.” PLEASE. People don’t care about your brand story. They want a good product as promised via your advertising. There is way too much content that marketers believe people want to read when that’s just a load of garbage.
Branding in a recession
Recessions present a valuable opportunity for brands to reinvent themselves. When recessions hit, customers usually reconsider their priorities, and brands can use this time to strengthen their position in the market and set themselves apart from the competition. You can improve your business by recognizing the risks and executing a rebranding that aligns with cultural, technological, and societal shifts.
The natural response to a recession? Cut costs and spending to preserve revenue until the economy recovers. Many business owners will focus on where to cut spending based on strategies to minimize the damage. In doing so, they adopt a survival mindset.
Your brand encompasses the entire ecosystem around your company that leads to a feeling or perception in the eyes or hearts of your customers. Influential brands marry strategy, visual assets, and written communication to present a unified identity to everyone who experiences it—customers, prospects, employees, and stakeholders.
Think of your brand as a long-term strategy and investment beyond your physical product or service. Companies that understand this and invest in their brand can benefit from well-defined market positioning, increased customer loyalty, and more necessary referrals.
Although any brand shift during a recession won’t be easy, you shouldn’t stop your plans. Instead, re-evaluate the purpose and how you activate it to ensure its success. Organizations that understand the value of their brand during uncertain times, and plan strategically to ensure brand updates are made throughout content organization, can reap significant benefits that will take effect for years to come, long after the recession ceases.