Downturns have led economists to predict a tough 2023, leading to a period of slow growth and increased inflation. With fuel and cost of living rates spiking, it’s understandable that you may be frightened about how all this will affect your business.

Here are some things that we know and suggest to help with your decision making during recessionary times.

  1. Build your relationship with consumers through continued and impactful brand messaging.
  2. Don’t hit the panic button. Get creative with how you maintain visibility.
  3. Keep in mind the popular adage, “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.”
  4. Maintain share of voice and play the long term game.
  5. Continue building trust and fostering a meaningful relationships. Provide reassurance and familiarity amongst uncertainty with the strength of your brand.

Reducing ad spend is associated with declining sales and weakened company performance in the long-run. It is more costly and challenging to regain brand equity and market share lost by going dark than it is to maintain them with even modest investment.

Research shows that going dark for a period as short as six months can have detrimental effects on core brand metrics and can be difficult to reverse. Reducing marketing efforts can exacerbate the already negative impact of the recession and is likely to jeopardise future sales and profits.

Take this research beyond the marketing department. Show your internal key decision makers how investing in advertising can deliver long term gains.

Brands who take a bigger picture view, are the ones who are able to thrive in hard times. Especially in times of hardship, brands must give consumers a reason to pay attention to them. Consumers want to see the Impact your brand is making in their lives. How are you acting to make their lives, and the world at large, better?

Now is the time for your brand to stand up in culture and stand out from competition. Impact shows why they should build trust with you, why they should pay attention to you, and why they should spend their money with you.

Now more than ever, we are all looking for human connection, stories or opportunity to demonstrate generosity, and a little humor to alleviate the heaviness we are all feeling.

WARC has identified five marketing lessons from previous recessions:

  1. During recessionary times, media costs decline.
  2. Defend your share of voice – cutting ad spend risks damaging market share.
  3. Investing in ad spend during a recession brings long-term advantage.
  4. Once decline in market share sets in, it can be hard to reverse.
  5. “Going dark” can weaken consumer “bonding” metrics.