The Manager. The Creative. The Planner.

Crisis Criteria

Posted in informative, inspirational by missionnoagency on April 8, 2009

“Making the most of the downturn

Tim Lindsay President, TBWA/UK Group stressed the importance of encouraging advertisers to flush out conventions, especially in a downturn.

He recommended six Marketing behaviours for disrupting a downturn.

1. Build indispensability: advertisers must consider an aspect of the brand that could make it indispensable, especially when compared to the competition. For example in the nineties recession consumers started to get rid of their credit cards so Barclaycard demonstrated its added services with the Rowan Atkinson campaign (see the video below for one example). Barclaycard became market leader.

2. Be innovative: even when money is tight, people like innovation and are prepared to pay for it. For example, Haagen Dazs was launched in a downturn as a premium brand for serious indulgence at four times the price of the competition. Sony’s Playstation 2 and Apple’s iPod also launched during the advertising downturn of 2001.

3. Take advantage of lower media costs, build share of market with increased share of voice: There is much evidence to demonstrate that short term cuts in budget lead to longer term declines in market share. There is a strong correlation between increases in share of voice and growth in market share.

4. Change the value calculation: customers make different value calculations in recession, continually seeking out better value. Advertisers who recognise the need to make their brands appear like better value will continue to do well. For example, Marks and Spencer introduced the meal for two for £10, repositioning the store as a cheap restaurant rather than an expensive food retailer. Hovis, another example, produced smaller loaves, thus reducing wastage in the eyes of the buyer.

5. Aim to be twice as distinct for half as much: great ideas don’t necessarily rely on the size of the budget; a cut in budget does not mean reduced creativity in communications. For example, Honda’s ‘Power of Dreams’ campaign (see the video below) was in response to a sales target of 50% growth but a 15% budget cut. Advertisers are urged to find interesting and compelling elements of their brand that thus far has only little exposure. Changing the media mix or adopting different behaviour to the competition can also gain attention.

6. Become a home comfort: there is much evidence to support the fact that consumers shift to in-home pleasures in times of hardship and that brands in these categories will thrive.

Advertisers should investigate how to move their brands “in to the home”, how the product could be redefined to help protect it from the recession. Recent examples included the increase in sales in products such as Sky, CDs and Galaxy chocolate.

And finally…

To get the best from creatives it is important to understand that there is a reason why creative floors more closely resemble the entertainment department of John Lewis than a standard office.

According to Simon Veksner, Creative Director, BBH, creative teams share many similarities with small children, and to get the best out of them agency folk should treat them as so.

We should be thankful that creatives have retained their childlike perspective on life and view their more childish tendencies as positive attributes rather than mere petulance.”


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