Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Opportunity for Brands in a Time of Adversity

The adversity felt right now is a collective squeeze, a nation tightening its proverbial belt in a reaction (if not anticipation) of a greater need for frugality. Many companies are experiencing softening sales.

We at OFD think that for certain brands, a time of adversity is an opportunity. It's a chance for brands to strengthen relationships with existing customers, but perhaps the biggest upside comes in inspiring a connection and bond among people currently outside the brand fold. Doing so the right way can stabilize sales and reverse a downward trend, instead of a purely tactic response of price discounting, which can erode the brand's perceived value not to mention profits.

The cultural context

This is a zeitgeist moment. On a mass scale people are struggling financially and psychologically with extended uncertainty; the road through the turmoil is unclear and people have braced themselves for a tough journey ahead.

The brand connection opportunity

Brands can inspire a bond by going beyond mere empathy for how the current climate is affecting people and instead take actions that show genuine understanding and commitment to help.

The idea: Fuel For Everyday Life
Be a champion of the people in their pursuit of moving forward by being the fuel that energizes people and feeds their need to keep going....for getting through their day/week.

The action
Something as simple as a message about the importance of fueling one's day in conjunction with distributing samples at unemployment lines, malls where busy mom shop or to commuters as they file in to work in the morning, could help to give contemporary relevance to products in a context broader than the typical ones these brands are associated with.

The point
Just as adversity builds character, so a brand's character can be built when inspiring a valued connection during a time of adversity.

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