Despite reassurance from the Chancellor this week, reports on slowing growth in the UK economy have sparked fears of a recession. Increasing uncertainty surrounding the UK’s position in the EU, the potential of a no-deal Brexit and a loss of trust in government mean one thing: the UK is in turmoil.
Confidence in the market is low and, with the world watching, confidence in the UK dips every time a new Brexit related drama unfolds. Does this mean UK businesses should retreat, hide until it’s over and hope for the best? Absolutely not.
Marketing budgets were slashed in the 2008 recession. In the final quarter of 2018, UK ad spending experienced no growth, suggesting we may be heading in a similar direction. Whilst short term spending tends to increase during periods of uncertainty, long term investment all but stops.
During the 2008 recession we told all our clients the same thing: keep on investing in good marketing, advertising and promotion. Don’t disappear. More than 10 years on, they are all still here to tell the tale.
Cutting marketing spend means that inevitably, your brand will go quiet. This will be perceived as failure by customers, whereas a company that continues to promote itself is likely to be perceived as doing well. Not only this, but you can’t risk losing your share of voice in the market. Whilst you have limited control over consumer spending during a downturn, staying present will help you to benefit from an upturn in the market when the time comes. After all, taking off from a standing start puts you at a huge disadvantage, so why not carry on jogging throughout?
This doesn’t mean that you should carry on as usual. Times are changing and you need to adjust your focus. In the event of a recession, resources will be scarce so don’t spread yourself too thinly; focus on your core messages and play to your strengths. Streamline your marketing efforts around your strongest products or services.
We cannot stress enough the importance of banging the drum throughout tough times. And having survived several recessions now, we speak from experience and we know what works.