Navigating the business waters of an economic recession is no easy task. Companies may feel forced to rein in costs and take measures—sometimes very drastic ones—to keep from sinking further into a murky and confusing abyss. It’s not uncommon for some businesses to push the panic button and abandon all advertising. But before you duck, cover and batten down the hatches, we have some key pieces of information we’d like you to keep in mind. This is not to minimize the impact or the difficult decisions that some businesses face during uncertain economic times, but rather to share a life vest that might help keep you afloat and buoyant for years to come.

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat.

So the economic recession hits, companies feel caught in the undertow and pull back on their advertising. This is not an uncommon scenario, but if you’re in this situation, there are a few kickers associated with this course of action you might want to consider. The first kicker: Companies that cut back on advertising become less visible to consumers. The result? Even less business. Here’s the second kicker: Many of your competitors will likely cut their advertising budgets, leaving them less visible and more vulnerable. Did someone just gently whisper the words, “golden opportunity”? And finally, the recession won’t last forever. Businesses that maintain their advertising positioning and keep themselves top-of-mind will have a clear advantage over their competitors after these turbulent economic waves settle. There’s that whisper again, “gooooooolden opportunity.”

So, how do you conquer the storm? Well, you don’t actually need a bigger boat, but you might need a fresh perspective and some new tools to help steer you in the right direction.

Sink or Swim.

Did you know there were more millionaires created during the Great Depression than any other period in American history? It’s true—or at least the Internet says it is. In fact, there are countless examples of companies that not only withstood the pressures of recessionary times, but also flourished.

As noted in How Brands Thrived During the Great Depression by David Chase, “GE started during the panic of 1873, Disney started during the recession of 1923-24, HP began during the Great Depression, and Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft during the recession of 1975.” The paper goes on to say “…anecdotal and empirical evidence support the case that advertising was the main factor in the growth or downfall of companies during the Great Depression.” Though this is a mouthful, a few things remain clear. Companies that stayed the course, kept themselves top-of-mind, and innovatively sought out and developed new opportunities were wildly successful.

You might be thinking that times were different back then, and the same logic and opportunity doesn’t exist today. Well, in a paper called Innovating Through Recession, written by Professor Andrew J. Razeghi of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, it was noted that “…businesses that maintained or increased their advertising expenditures during the 1981-82 recession averaged higher sales growth during the recession and in the three years following. By 1985, sales of aggressive recession advertisers (those that either maintained or increased spending) had risen 256% over those that cut back on their advertising. Likewise, in 2001 another study found that aggressive recession advertisers increased market share 2½ times the average for all businesses in the post-recession economy.”

Hey, there’s that whisper yet again: “GOOOOLDEN OPPORTUNITY!”

I’ll Never Let Go, Jack.

So, here you sit, wanting to take advantage of this great stuff. But you don’t know where to start and you don’t want to break the bank. We get it. It’s imperative to always remain financially responsible with your marketing and advertising budgets. That’s where strategy and advertising pros (ahem—like us) come in. We’ll help hold your hand (as much or as little as you’d like), as we guide you through your options and navigate around any potential icebergs ahead. But we promise to do a much better job than Rose did.

We’re in the trenches and have the tools and know-how to create a plan with an overarching, consistent creative strategy. This prevents the haphazard process of piecemealing projects together, tossing a Hail Mary and hoping for the best. Plus, we’re a crafty bunch and can come up with all kinds of ways to save you money and use your dollars as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, all while maintaining consumer positioning and helping you rise above your competitors.

We can also save you from making potentially disastrous rash decisions. We’ve all been there—panicked and doing things we shouldn’t in the heat of the moment. It’s sort of akin to going to the grocery store hungry. Don’t do it! You’ll wind up with seven different boxes of cookies, twelve cartons of ice cream (they were on sale) and a Costco sized bag of Lay’s Perogy Platter chips (yum). We digress. The point is that we can help you see the big picture with fresh eyes and give you a plan that works for both your short-term goals and your long-term future.

These times certainly aren’t easy, but with a smart vision and the right help, you might just become the king (or queen) of the world.

If you still have questions or want more information on our “custom life vests”, give us a call or drop us a line, and we’ll be happy to help.