BBDO implements global recession-beating plan
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.”