When things are looking grim, there’s often a knee-jerk urge to move efforts to the lowest-hanging fruit. I’ve watched the same phenomena take place time after time for 40 years. When times are tough, there is always a race to performance advertising. It’s more measurable than brand marketing, drives immediate response and is easier to flip on and off.
While such a shift in strategy might seem like the most prudent, and simple, move, elevating performance ads in the overall mix might not be the best move. After all, if consumers aren’t buying, focusing on an ad strategy around getting them to open their wallets may simply be an exercise in futility – both for the brand and for its audiences. And because of this dynamic, marketers may have to spend more – possibly much more – to get a response.
An approach centered more around brand advertising avoids this kind of tension. Rather than asking for something, marketers can use their advertising as a vehicle to entertain, inform and empathize. A mechanism for building distinctiveness, ensuring top-of-mind positioning for when consumer spending does eventually come back.
An additional benefit is that in an environment where other marketers are cutting back on brand advertising it becomes less expensive for those that maintain or increase spend to gain a greater share of voice.
There is a lot of noise out there about how rough things might get in 2023. Be prepared. Be smart.