The Economist published an article discussing the impact the recession will have on people’s purchasing habits.
Typically we, as consumers, have short memories and as soon as things improve we go back to our free-spending ways. This time however, the article goes on to discuss, that this recession will have a longer lasting effect.
We can already see this in gas consumption as usage remains down even though the $2 average cost per gallon is 50% less than it was a year ago.
People are eating at home more.
People are saving more – in fact the saving rate in January ’09 reached a 15 year high of 5% compared to .1% the year prior.
Since the audience is adapting to this new economic reality, how have you adapted your message, pricing strategy, and brand to best meet the needs of the market?
Notice I use the word adapted and not changed.
I also hesitate to use the words discounting or rebates as they can negatively impact your brand long-term and your audience’s buying habits. Just look at the big retailers at Christmas time – everyone waits for the big sale because they know it is coming and being known solely for discounts can devastate profits as well as your brand value.
Adapting your brand allows you to highlight how you are meeting today’s needs in a responsible and helpful manner.
- Highlight the things that make your product unique and/or superior to the competition
- Talk with your audience about the value your products or services provide
- Help your audience save money in the short-term and over the long-haul
- Reward them for their loyalty
- Thank them for being a referral source
- Discuss how you have been adding value to their lives for years
Target has done a nice job of this adaptation with their “redefining” campaign promoting the new movie night, the new girl’s night out, etc. while touting what makes Target unique – an inexpensive way to remain stylish.
The key is not taking things for granted or assuming things will return to normal. That may have been the case in past recessions, but the severity of this one is predicted to make a significant change in people’s habits.
It’s your job to make sure your brand knows how to adapt.