DO NOT SIT ON A CRISIS

DO NOT SIT ON A CRISIS
SEPTEMBER 2020

There is a weariness that sets in when times are challenging. Certainly, you expect an initial shock at the onset of a crisis, followed by a period of discomfort – perhaps personally and professionally. But then, you wake up day after day, month after month and it is not quite over yet – I would be speaking of COVID19. Just when there seems to be a ray of hope as the country starts to open up, spikes of the virus in different states cause businesses who opened, to close down again. So many businesses and industries continue to just take a brutal beating. 

I have never seen as much despair from a crisis as I have with COVID19. The path to the future seems more unclear each day. We wonder, “Is this going to ever end?” And if the answer is yes, “Will it end well?”

I recall during the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, that with the change of every season, each new month, a spate of optimism would hit. “We’re going to turn it around, now,” was the common refrain. But turnaround doesn’t happen that way. It doesn’t follow a traditional calendar and many of us were simply exhausted by how long it took for things to get better. 

The funny thing is, I don’t remember the actual moment it happened – when business picked up – but I do recall we were, all of a sudden, so busy again that many couldn’t keep up with the amount of new business coming in. People were being hired at a record pace just to keep up. I’m hoping we’ll be in that mode again soon.

One thing for sure. Whatever business you are in, it will never be the same again. Ever!  I refuse to use the term NEW NORMAL however – oh, how I hate that term.  I think it is a lazy phrase. But indeed, things will never be the same…

  • Advertising Agencies
  • Restaurants
  • Malls
  • Rent
  • Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • The Workplace

So, here we are, with the ultimate decision to make.  Do we get back in the game now, knowing the economy might or might not get better soon, or do we continue to sit on the sidelines while our competitors begin to communicate to our customers? The question of when to start advertising again seems simple, but there are so many things to consider. 

  • Current cash flow
  • Competitors
  • Long term revenue and business projections
  • Knowing how much is enough
  • If there is the “right time” 
  • Is investment spending a risk we can afford

Truth be told, there’s no playbook, nor “right answer” to the question of how we engage marketing in the midst of, or post, COVID19. This is not like historic recessions where there is a general protocol of how the market, and consumers, respond to recovery. 

That being said, 78Madison's best advice is to get back into the marketing game now!  Each day in the dark is a day when consumers are forgetting about you and potentially engaging with a new option or brand. Engaging now will immediately begin to show customers, your customers, that you are still active and that you are in this with them. As important, it prevents other competitors from eroding your brand and taking away potential market share. Change your ad copy to reflect your company’s current state – an example would be Toyota who left out their slogan “Let’s Go Places” in recent commercials. Bottom line, it just makes good business sense to run ads and let people know how you are in this with them.

Running even limited ads now can help make reopening more successful. As you prepare to ramp your business back up, you need to ramp up your marketing in advance to make a splash on day one. If your business isn’t ready to operate at 100% capacity yet, then think of how you can get the most out of your best customers first.

Facing an unparalleled, pandemic instigated recession, is indeed unchartered territory, but remember that a disruption creates opportunity as well as threats. If you are to increase the probability that your brand recovers better than the competition, you must assess what the best combination of efficiency and investment will be. It is not simply a matter of advertising more; it is about identifying the best opportunity for future growth. Fortunately or Unfortunately, we all have to prove our worth again to consumers. 

During times of uncertainty and financial stress, people turn to the comfort of familiar brands and place value ahead of getting the lowest possible price. Whether it is by innovation, action or advertising, brands need to reassure their customers that they have made the right choice and make it as easy as possible for them to stick with the brand rather than reconsider their options. 

What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Joe Bouch
CEO, 78Madison


78Madison is a full-service Marketing-Digital Communications Company located in Central Florida – Orlando – Altamonte Springs. Let’s start a conversation. Email me at jbouch@78madison.com