In a down economy, the one thing that all advertising and brand agency professionals seem to agree on is that reducing or cutting advertising expenditures is not the best plan of attack. While in theory, going dark from an advertising standpoint in slower economic times is not a good strategy for success (in fact, that sort of position will contribute to a shuttered business in no time), the alternative of spending more is not necessarily the right strategy either.

Let’s be honest, this economic downturn, recession, financial cluster@#ck of epic proportions or whatever you want to call it, continues to cause a strain on company’s and consumer’s cash flow. So rather than recommend marketers out-spend their competitors, a better approach is to recommend marketers out-smart their competitors. This means taking a strategic and holistic look at what needs to be accomplished and how a specific brand’s consumers prefer to interact with their brand of choice.

Step #1:
Focus on one or possibly two core business objectives.

Step #2:
Develop key messaging points and creative elements that help bridge the gap between the consumer truth and the company truth. We like to call it the Brand Truth©.

Step #3:
Invest in targeted media plans designed to connect and interact with the consumer segment you have identified.

Another way of out smarting the competition is to increase the value proposition of your brand. This tends to lead to discounted products or services. But in reality, this direction ultimately DE-values the brand and DE-creases the margins of your products and services.

So how does a brand create value?

Well first, there is no silver bullet. And even if there were a silver bullet, it would be different for each and every brand. For example, one of our financial clients has been in business for almost 130 years and a data services client of ours has been in business for over 75 years. Although the longevity of both these brands is considered a key attribute, in these times it has not been enough for them to rely solely on their long-standing and positive reputation.

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