Can Brands Opt Out of a Recession?


When asked about his thoughts on the 1991 recession Wal-Mart’s founder, Sam Walton, responded, “I thought about it and I decided not to participate.” Interesting approach, but is it actually realistic?

The short answer: no. It depends what you want your brand to achieve out of the incoming recession. If your goal is to attempt to protect short term profitability, then your marketing department and spend will take a hit. As will your business’ long-term profits.

As Peter Field noted, most brands are in one of two situations right now; so much demand that they’re struggling to meet it, or zero demand as consumers are unable to buy or access the product. In either situation, short-term activation will do very little to improve the situation.

The Long Answer: to furnish your business with a 3-to-5-year advantage over your competition, remember two key points: First, maintaining your investment in a recession gives you a brand and sales gap over brands lowering investment, long after the recession is over. Second, you can still grow market share in a shrinking market. As other brands cut budgets, there is an opportunity to disproportionately win share in a quiet competitive landscape.

Read the four ways how to continue to win share.

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