“We have a philosophy and a strategy. When times are tough, you build share.” — Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Laffley
As this CEO of P&G points out, making it during a recession is largely about adopting a fearless attitude, a well thought-out plan and the courage to believe-in your approach, then combine them all and move boldly forward.
Yes, this is coming from a (seemingly) recession-proof soap producer, however what they understand is something most businesses don’t. The fear that grips businesses in a recession is a massive opportunity. During times of slowdown, the marketing landscape becomes less intense so there are less players competing, and advertising rates drop. This means marketing messages are more easily noticed by consumers. This. In turn, provides those brands that continue to invest, the opportunity to capture new mind — and market — share.
This can have a two-fold effect on the category, because brands that continue to market themselves win-over their competitor’s customers and gain valuable momentum after the recovery.
For instance, during the recession of The 70’s, Toyota was already offering a fuel efficient product line that complemented the high fuel prices of the day. Yet the industry was anything but recession-proof. (Who buys a new car when they don’t know how much longer they’ll have a job?) However, instead of cutting their advertising they stayed on the marketing offensive. Shortly after the economy recovered in the mid seventies, Toyota went from the third to top import in the critical car-hungry market of the USA. 20-plus years later, they did what many once thought was the impossible: they overtook General Motors as the world’s largest car producer.
Clean, clear-cut approaches to marketing during times of downturn can wash away competition and allow you to float to the top. Both during and after a recession.