Look Around, Look Ahead. Laugh A Lot!

Look Around, Look Ahead. Laugh A Lot!

Marketing when business confidence levels are low

When business and consumer confidence levels are low, one can either contemplate one’s navel or look around and then look ahead. Given that one’s navel will not inspire the greatness in you, we encourage the latter option. And yes, laugh a lot!

1. LAUGH! LAUGH! LAUGH!

Laughing a lot might not turn the economy around but it’s better than moping. Laughing decreases stress hormones, increases immune cells and infection – fighting antibodies. It also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemical. And it’s fun.

I encourage my team to laugh a lot, our corridors echo with their noisy enthusiasm. We laugh as we wade together through deadly deadlines, declining budgets, some delinquent debtors and the odd disdainful client.

Sure, I get grumpy as I sometimes contemplate the economy through my navel but that’s never going to last long. The fun soon shines in.

Questions:

Are you laughing enough? Do you laugh with your staff? When things go wrong, can you see the funny side? Are you happiest when you’re grumpy or happy?

2. BRAND! BRAND! BRAND!

Let’s see how strong brands leverage through times.

If your brand is known for something, you can leverage off it. Take Woolworths. Associated with quality but over the last few years introduced savings through clever promotions. Still premium, but premium with savings. Look at Checkers, synonymous with lower prices. Through promoting stinky cheese and sizzling steaks, they added traits such as aspirational and quality to their well-known attribute of savings. Both brilliant!

And then there is Pick ‘n Pay who should have taken high ground but somehow lost their purpose and way and got stuck in Nowhere Land.

In tough times, a brand is your best friend.

Questions:

What does your brand stand for? What do people associate you with? Why are they buying from you? Why is your brand relevant?

3. HOLD! HOLD! HOLD!

It’s not easy to get new business so hold on to your good clients, the 20% which provides the 80% of your business. Your customers will also be looking for savings but resist the urge to slash your prices.

Under BRAND! BRAND! BRAND! (see point 2), we spoke about Woolworths and Checkers. What lessons can we learn from them? They retained their core brand values but added another very relevant dimension which resonated with their customers. So much so in fact that they attracted new customers.

Understand how your customers’ behaviour or priorities are changing. Get the right messaging across. If a product was pitched based on, say, “efficiency”, switch that message to “savings”.

Questions:

Do you know who your most profitable clients are? When last did you see them? Does your switchboard operator know who they are? What are they thinking, what’s worrying them?

4. MARKET! MARKET! MARKET!

With many companies looking inward and cutting costs, customers become stranded. So it’s a good time to market to potential customers.

But marketing costs money. But not marketing also has a cost. Or, pitching the wrong message is wasteful.

Online Marketing is affordable but you need to be very clear on your target audience, their behaviour and habits and how you’re going to connect or resonate with that audience. Enjoy the cost benefits of Online as a media platform, but don’t skimp on execution.

Questions:

When you stack your offering against competitors, why would they choose you? Who would choose you? Which online platform will work for you? How will it work for you? What budget will you put behind it? Are you clear on the marketing objectives?

Don’t waste time, the recession won’t last forever.

LAUGH! LAUGH! LAUGH!
BRAND! BRAND! BRAND!
HOLD! HOLD! HOLD!
MARKET! MARKET! MARKET!

Gary Hendrickse
CEO & Brand Strategist

Sherpa Brand & Design Agency
admin@sherpa.co.za