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How to build brand equity in tough times

How to build brand equity in tough times

By James Gregory, CEO of brand strategy firm CoreBrand.

Any time senior executives hear the distant rumbling of thunder in the economy it usually causes the financial lifeguards to shout, "Everybody out of the marketing pool!"

But savvy marketers know that the very best time to gain advantage against competitors is in times where the economy is in recession.

Yet, marketing and communications spending is often the first thing to go under the knife at the signs of trouble. This makes no sense.

So, while we might not be in a recession yet, it is a good idea to understand what one needs to do to build brand equity should a recession loom on the horizon.

1. Benchmark

Benchmark your market position today so you will know how changes in the economy are impacting your brand/company as well as the competition.

2. Follow up

Follow up with tracking waves of research tied to your business goals and conducted on a regular basis to identify progress and the precise contribution made by marketing.

3. Communicate

Communicate with your senior management before the downturn about the need for and benefits of consistent spending throughout an economic downturn. Let them know specifically what you will need and what you expect to accomplish.

4. Position

Position the downturn as a "golden opportunity" to increase market share over competitors.

5. Streamline

Streamline your focus to put more emphasis on marketing activities that you know works and less emphasis on marginal or experimental activities.

6. Identify

Identify the potential ROI you expect to capture by spending resources wisely in a down market. Don't forget ROI comes in two forms - increased revenue and increased market capitalization.

Without question the best way to build brand equity is clear, concise and consistent communications over a long period of time. One of the quickest ways to lose brand equity is by erratic communications.

Starting and stopping campaigns can be a disaster. If your senior management tends to be reactive and can pull back at the first sign of a downturn, you might want to get out in front of the issue before a recession hits and educate them on the benefits of consistent branding vs. the perils of erratic branding.

The brand you save could be your own!

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