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