I don't know why for sure, but whenever we send out a self-promotion e-mail ("Particles of Thought"), a lot of people click through to this here blog-thing instead of our web site.
This is in spite of all the "read more here", "click here to live forever" or "visit our web site first, or we'll burn your house down" messages we include in the e-mail.
Whatever the reason, here you are. Thanks for coming.
So let's get to it.
The economy sucks right now. Any arguments there? Didn't think so. Blame anybody you want, debate what to do about it and wonder how long it will last, but I think we can all pretty much agree this is not our finest hour. The question is, how do you get through it?
We've said before on J.I.T.D. that about the worst thing you can do is totally eliminate your advertising and hide out, hoping it will all blow over soon. Seriously. That's not going to work, and there is all kinds of hard data that supports that point of view. (Rather than belabor the point, see previous blog post here. And here. And we even put something on our web site. Here.)
But beyond just refusing to bury your head in the sand, one thing you can do is develop your brand. Brand development is worth doing for a whole bunch of good reasons. (And in a shameless agency plug, I will tell you that we know how to do it.) For one thing, a strong brand can help you build customer loyalty -- and loyal customers will often pay more for your brand, will only minimally consider the competition, and won't bail when you need them the most.
Also, a strong brand can combat or minimize the effects of price-cutting by your competition, help you with any new products or services you may introduce to address the situation, and give you more negotiation leverage with people like channel marketing partners.
Here's something else I like a lot about a clearly defined brand: It gives you a great brand lens through which to evaluate business decisions. A business decision that fits into your brand is a better business decision than one that doesn't. And times like these don't allow much margin for error on business decisions, do they?
And, although I said I wouldn't belabor the point about advertising, I have to say that a strong brand can allow for a much less cost-efficient advertising program. Cost-efficient being another way to spell "less expensive".
This recession-like thing isn't going to last forever, but it isn't going away any time soon. No matter who gets elected in three weeks, and no matter how much money the Gubbmint spends on bailouts. Trust me on this.
But you don't have to roll over for it.