Re­ces­sion proof­ing

BBDO im­ple­ments global re­ces­sion-beat­ing plan

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology -

BBDO WORLD­WIDE has leaped into action with a global pro­gramme to arm clients and agen­cies to sur­vive the loom­ing re­ces­sion – and emerge even stronger. The ini­tia­tive, called Stormy Weather, will be spear­headed in South Africa by Net#work BBDO CEO Keith Ship­ley. The com­ing down­turn will be “prob­a­bly the worst any of us will face dur­ing our ca­reers,” pre­dicts Ship­ley. “But we won’t al­low neg­a­tiv­ity to over­whelm us. Op­por­tu­nity abounds in re­ces­sion­ary times.”

The risks are high, though. World­wide CEO An­drew Robert­son notes a re­ces­sion “is the least ex­pen­sive time to in­crease mar­ket share but, con­versely, brands en­ter a phase of ex­treme risk to their long-term health”.

The task of Stormy Weather is to as­sist in mak­ing the right mar­ket­ing de­ci­sions. “We’ll take in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and pro­vide a deeper lo­cal un­der­stand­ing of brand, cat­e­gory and con­sumer dy­nam­ics to en­sure cor­rect de­ci­sions are made timeously,” prom­ises Ship­ley. “In th­ese un­cer­tain times no de­ci­sion is a de­ci­sion. The stakes are very high in­deed. We in­tend to pro­vide clients with imag­i­na­tive re­sponses that as­sist them to take ad­van­tage of hid­den mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties.” BBDO’s learn­ings world­wide will be shared with South African clients next month.

Ship­ley, echo­ing the find­ings of the global BBDO con­fer­ence from which he’s just re­turned, puts much of the blame on the me­dia. “Un­re­lent­ingly neg­a­tive re­port­ing on the econ­omy would have us be­lieve every­one will be forced on to the bread­line. That’s sim­ply not true. For ev­ery cat­e­gory be­ing neg­a­tively im­pacted, an­other is do­ing well, caus­ing po­larised spending pat­terns.

BBDO’s re­search iden­ti­fied ways in which con­sumer pat­terns change in tough times. The first is men­tal: be seek­ing value and re­ward from their pur­chases. They be­come re­sis­tant to low-value buy­ing and start shop­ping smarter. in a cli­mate where the me­dia con­tin­ues to bom­bard us with rea­sons to re­duce our spending. It ab­solves us from guilt. de­lay buy­ing some­thing if it can’t be jus­ti­fied. That’s al­ready ev­i­dent in big-ticket items, such as houses and cars. Mar­keters may re­spond by re­duc­ing prices “but that’s po­ten­tially the worst tac­tic, as value and low prices are not the same thing,” says Ship­ley. The other fac­tor is pur­chase driv­ers: emo­tional well-be­ing re­gard­less of out­side pres­sures. Treats and small pur­chases that make us feel good will con­tinue to be deemed worth­while. prom­ise when it came to the wants of chil­dren and spouses, es­pe­cially on spe­cial oc­ca­sions such as birthdays.” of fru­gal be­hav­iour and grow­ing ac­cep­tance of fi­nan­cial cau­tion, pride is still a fac­tor. That may be all the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion needed to keep buy­ing im­pres­sive items. ”Cut­ting your mar­ket­ing bud­get in a down­turned econ­omy can re­sult in short-term sav­ings but can weaken a brand long term and re­duce speed of re­cov­ery when the econ­omy picks up. Com­pa­nies that main­tain, or even in­crease, their mar­ket spend dur­ing eco­nom­i­cally dif­fi­cult times will out­weigh their com­peti­tors when the tide turns.”

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