As Champion of the Challenger Brand, we frequently field tons of questions from small businesses about various day-to-day Challenger Brand issues, often surrounding brand development, media selection, website concerns, social media issues, search optimization and plenty other necessary, though comparably mundane subjects.
Today, however, all of our recent inquiries have centered around one central, understandable theme:
What should we do with our marketing during these unprecedented and scary times?
We like to answer that question the way Sam Walton (Founder of Wal-Mart) answered the question, “What are your opinions of the current recession?” Mr. Walton confidently responded, “I have thought about it and decided not to participate.”
Our opinion is similar and is backed by over 70 years of history – now is not the time for Challenger Brands to go dark. Since World War II, brands that maintained or increased their marketing efforts showed more growth than competitors that reduced spending or withdrew from the market completely.
According to a famous ABP/Meldrum & Fewsmith Study:
Companies that did not cut advertising expenditures during recessions experienced higher sales and net income during those years and the years following than those that did cut…The findings of the six recession studies to date present formidable evidence that cutting advertising appropriations in time of economic downturns can result in both immediate and long-term negative effects on sales and profit levels.
But, that’s an opinion based purely on dollars and cents. Our current crisis is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced as a global society and goes way beyond a recessionary economy. This predicament requires we look at the challenge with an empathetic eye recognizing Challenger Brands must remain visible in support of their customers as much as in need of their customers.
Now is the time to show your followers what you’re made of, how you’re thinking about them in a genuine, meaningful way and, instead of traditional advertising, providing your constituents with direction and leadership to help guide them through the storm clouds. Now is not the time to turtle up. Going silent during these tough times tells your customers you are in it only for yourselves and are pulling the blankets over your head and going back to sleep; wake me up when it’s over.
To further illustrate our position on marketing during challenging times, John Gumas, CEO/Founder of Gumas recently sat in on a series of podcasts with one of our long-standing clients, Lira Clinical (global leader in the manufacturer and distribution of the world’s highest quality skincare products), to share his thoughts on this critical topic. Hear how John leads the Lira Clinical founders in a discussion that focuses on using communication, education and promotion to stay in front of your customer during these uncertain times. This three-part series is perfect for anyone who is unsure about how to manage their marketing during a crisis.
Good luck to you all; stay safe, stay healthy and stay visible. We’re rooting for you.
Click here to listen.