Innovation Inspiration: Building Brand Value in a Recession

09 Jun 2009|Added Value

CEO Added Value FranceIt’s easy to believe that in times of economic crisis, brand owners should cut marketing and innovation investment. The evidence suggests this is the wrong thing to do. As AG Laffley, CEO of P&G, sees it: “We have a philosophy and a strategy. When times are tough, you build share.”

Writing in brandchannel.com, Kevin Randall cites hundreds of studies that demonstrate the enhanced stock performance of corporations with increased levels of marketing activity during the ten recessions of the 20th century. Referring to P&G, IBM and Southwest Airlines, he shows how a combination of vision, strength of conviction and delivery helps to build brand leadership in times of economic crisis.

Read More: Time For a Brand Stimulus Package

So, as a brand owner, what should you be doing more concretely? Writing in his Wiki branding blog, David Murphy reckons that building brand value in a recession is about consumer empathy and brand authenticity. We trust brands that show they understand us, deliver on their promise and therefore represent genuine value.

Read More: Building Brand Value During a Recession

Claire Ratushny believes that as the world undergoes a major cultural shift, more outer-directed behaviours are out and quality, transparency and authenticity are in. She also believes that ways of interacting with customers as sources of ideas – like Added Value’s digital AVid platform – can help win the day in these troubled times.

Read More: Get Real

Harvard Business School professor John Quelch agrees with the need to get closer to your customers. Writing on the Harvard Business School Working Knowledge site, he points out that, “instead of cutting the market research budget, you need to know more than ever how consumers are redefining value and responding to the recession.”

Read More: Marketing your way through a recession

Also on brandchannel, Barry Silverstein reveals how Hyundai and Bank of America have demonstrated consumer closeness in the US by tailoring services that respond to people’s tighter budgets and more watchful approach to money management. Another example is how United Airlines has evolved its frequent flyer programme to lock in existing customers’ loyalty.

Read More: Marketing Strategies That Build Value

But how to build the brand story in a way that both rings true and is compelling to the customer and faithfully expresses your strategy? That’s where storytelling comes in. As David Murphy puts it in his Wikibranding blogspot, “great brands tell great stories”.

This won’t be news if you know Douglas Holt. In his book, When Brand Become Icons, Holt argues that consumers buy into the carefully-crafted myth embodied in brands such as Nike, Harley, Apple, Absolut and VW. These myths evolve over time in line with culture and this is how enduring customer value is built.

At Added Value, we believe that the key is to use story and character to create powerful distinctiveness and to use cultural insight to evolve the brand continually in line with cultural change.

Read More: Creating Heroic Brand Narratives

By Jonathan Hall, CEO Added Value France

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