Na­bil Sargi

All I can re­mem­ber is the in­tense rush amid a lo­cal cli­mate fu­eled by over­whelm­ing neg­a­tiv­ity and mar­ket ret­i­cence.

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor - The Cre­ative 9

Look­ing back at this past year, all I can re­mem­ber is the in­tense rush amid a lo­cal cli­mate fu­eled by over­whelm­ing neg­a­tiv­ity and mar­ket ret­i­cence. As an im­me­di­ate and ex­pected con­se­quence, a num­ber of brands (if not all ma­jor lo­cal play­ers) have re­acted to the re­ces­sion by down­grad­ing, down­siz­ing and adopt­ing ag­gres­sive, short-term tac­tics and gim­micks. Those, if not grounded in a sound vi­sion and long-term brand-build­ing strate­gies, bear the risk of drift­ing the brands into un­known ter­ri­to­ries where eq­ui­ties are eroded and re­la­tion­ships with con­sumers are com­pro­mised. This is al­ready tak­ing place with a num­ber of key, high-pro­file brands in Le­banon.

Un­der­stand­ably, com­pa­nies need to safe­guard their prof­its. No­body is chal­leng­ing that. And yes, one way to do so is, maybe and some­times, to cut on mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion costs. Then again, there are proven cases of brands that thrived in chal­leng­ing eco­nomic cli­mates by pre­serv­ing – if not in­creas­ing – their mar­ket­ing bud­gets. The idea is not to turn a blind eye to the sit­u­a­tion, but rather to em­brace it and keep in mind that peo­ple are, in fact, the big­gest vic­tims of the cri­sis. With this in mind, brands’ be­hav­ior should be tai­lored in a way to safe­guard and nur­ture their re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple by stay­ing true to their pur­pose and by in­sti­gat­ing mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences. In­deed, my be­lief is that peo­ple will re­main loyal to a brand – even if they can’t af­ford it at times - that shares their val­ues and that makes a dif­fer­ence in their lives.

And this can only hap­pen when clients be­lieve in their brands and when agen­cies em­brace the im­mer­sive role they are sup­posed to have.

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