Oct. 20th, 2008

Somebody Out There Needs A Hug.


This just in from the Department Of Understatement: It’s a pretty tough economy out there. Oh, you heard that, huh? Us, too. In fact, we’ve been getting a lot of calls lately asking how we’re managing, and if clients are running for cover.
Also, if we have any recipes for Top Ramen.

We are happy, if mildly shocked, to report that things are chugging along just fine. At first, we thought it might just be an East Coast/West Coast thing, what with us being somewhat removed from the scene of the crime(s) and all, but then we were heartened to see an article in the New York Times full of quotes like this one from Charles Schwab’s Rebecca Saeger:

"Increasing sales and profits has “never been more important,” said Ms.
Saeger…There has never been a more crystal-clear
realization of why you need a strong brand.”

Outstanding. Looks like we actually learned something from the dot-com crash.
Let’s review:
Your brand is what people think of, when they think of you.
So, when society’s foundations seem about as stable as that waterbed you owned in the 1980’s, wouldn’t it be good if people thought of your brand as something they could count on?

Joseph Tripodi, CMO at Coke thinks so:

“It’s very easy now to panic, and we cannot panic,” he added. “Invest
in your brands now, especially in these dry times. The easiest thing is
to shut down, and that’s the worst thing.”

Same with James Stengel at Procter & Gamble:

“If we’re there for consumers when they need us,” he added, “I’m sure we’ll be fine.”

And when you start to put all the pieces together, you get a pretty heady formula for growth, like "Home Is Calling", General Mills’ new Pillsbury work:

“Right now, given where America is, people need to go back to the comfort of home.”

Point is, it’s easy to care for a brand when people are irrationally exuberant and talking themselves into buying flat-screen tvs for the cat. It gets a little harder when they’re wondering if they should hitch the cat to a tiny covered wagon and light out for Californee. But now is when your brand matters. Now your audience is paying attention. Now is when they wonder if you’re here today, gone tomorrow, or if you’re stable, smart, and something that matters to them. Play your cards right, and you can make an impression that lasts a long, long time. Keep calm and carry on, eh, wot?

P.S. Add a little shrimp and some Tony Chachere’s to your Top Ramen and you’re good to go.

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