Opinion5 months ago

Should you invest in your brand during a recession?
If you want to win, yes.

There’s no need to beat around the proverbial bush.

Times are tough. And businesses know it.

But, are their typical reactive moves the right ones to protect their brands?

In recession times many companies begin to implement similar safe-guarding strategies and use the same language to explain their decisions. Phrases like ‘slowing down’, ‘cutting out’, ‘pulling back’, ‘reviewing’ and ‘easing off’ become buzzwords of the day.

The common thread? It’s all language that speaks to a move backward. When in fact, this is a time to be thinking forward. An unlikely, but opportune moment to look to the future.

Sure, spending may need to be curtailed, but doing it at the expense of your brand would be a mistake.

There’s no magic switch to pause your business and lay low. Even though things look bad, people are still using your services, browsing your products & consuming your content (hopefully!).

So you also can’t, or shouldn’t, pause your brand. Because the moment you do that, you start to lose your audience. You risk becoming ‘the forgotten‘.

It might feel like the comfortable option is to ‘ease up’ (buzzword alert), save some cash, and ‘hunker down’ (and again) until the worst has passed, but when you pop your head back up, more will have changed than you might have thought

… the world isn’t slowing down, and if you hit the brakes what’s to say your competition is doing the same.

In fact, a recent study from Harvard Business Review has found that products & companies launched during recessions outperform in their markets. Uber, WhatsApp, Venmo, AirBnb, Square, Slack and even Microsoft were all founded during recessions.

So why should brand be any different? Sticking your nose out while those around you are playing Sleeping Lions can be an incredibly a tactical move.

It’s time to Zag while the rest are zzz-igging*

It may seem counter intuitive to spend money on a brand revamp when you’re already looking for ways to cut back on spending, but as I see it this is the most optimum time to shake yourself (and your business) up.

During a recession we take stock of where we’re putting our money. And when we are less likely to spend, we choose brands we believe in.

A rebrand is your platform for reframing your value to your audiences. Reaffirming their belief in why they bought into you in the first place.
Doubling down on why you, and your customers, matter.

It also shows that you haven’t stopped thinking about them. We as consumers look to brands for signs of stability in times of uncertainty.

If somebody sees you’ve invested in your communication, it says ‘We’re still here and we’re still moving the dial’. It instills confidence, it boosts engagement, it increases your presence. All wins. All affect your bottom line.

By signalling change, you look to the future in an environment where most are focussing on the immediate reality. Reminding audiences that things, in the words of D:Ream, can only get better.

So, if a rebrand was already on the cards, don’t hold back, instead make your move.

*Thanks for that one Sir John Hegarty