There is no shortage of advice on what actions you should be considering as we navigate the unchartered territories of Covid. So what differentiates this post from the others? First hand observations of the current anxieties confronting market leaders.
The appearance of Covid also brought with it the push for marketing leaders across b2b high growth tech to produce results like never before, even unreasonable perhaps. Quite frankly, it’s hard to determine what is unreasonable when we are unsure of the current benchmark for success.
Unprecedented times often call for unprecedented measures. For marketers who have had sizable sources of their pipeline, namely field marketing, evaporate literally overnight, pivoting toa new reality has motivated critical assessments of the current state of their entire offering.
Added to this already heightened level of anxiety are panicked CEOs and revenue leaders who are creating a heightened level of urgency by demanding results in uncharted waters.
As marketers fear the risk of falling behind during a critical period for businesses, they seek to create a fix and fast–but what? As a design agency that helps businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors, over the past six months, Studio Science has consistently witnessed a redistribution of budgets to two main beneficiaries: Demand Generation and Brand.
Companies fortunate enough to have an established brand clearly articulating their unique value proposition, supported by compelling messaging and resonating visuals are able to dive headfirst into advertising and focusing on maximising ROI through digital channels. A prime example of this success are the teams at Terminus or 6sense as their businesses are booming through this pandemic.
Companies interminable of a distinct brand are finding themselves, now more than ever,ineffectual at setting themselves apart from the competition. With a lack of customer understanding and failure to deliver an impactful brand experience, there is a need to diligently endeavor to re-establish their brand foundation.
From our unique vantage point, we are seeing a new-found appetite for brand positioning, messaging, and visual design, all expressed through the client’s most public facing brand asset– their website.
Why Go Hard Now?
From the reactions that we are seeing in the market, history is repeating itself. This new-found appreciation for brand has been the catalyst for fueling the growth of companies through past economic downturns. History has shown that investing in branding through an economic downturn yields the best results. Now is the time to establish a true point of differentiation and a unique position against your competitors.
This point is accentuated in Justin Keller’s April LinkedIn post, “Brand is More Important than ever Right Now.” Keller states,
- “There are 100 years of historical indicators, pulled together by ASI, that the best thing to do for your company during a recession is to double down on brand.
- In the 90s, a MarketSense study found that a balance between brand-building and short-term performance programs yielded the best results for coming out the other side of a recession.
- In the 80s, McGraw Hill Research studied 600 B2B Companies during the recession and found that businesses that were aggressive about building their brand through advertising grew 275% more than those that didn’t.
- Across the recessions of 1949, 1954, 1958, and 1961, Buchen Advertising observed a correlation between a reduction in ad spend and a reduction in sales and profits.
- Not only was there the direct correlation between ad spend, and sales and profits, but those same companies lagged behind ones that maintained ad spend during the recession once the market recovered.”
So why go hard now in the unchartered waters of Covid times? According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that continued to invest in the brand through the 1923 recession came out 20% ahead of where they were before the recession. Historically speaking, it doesn’t add up not to.
Why Brand Matters
Trying to grow your business without investing in your brand is akin to Einstein’s parable of quantum insanity. After all, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The sooner businesses understand that being brand-led sets them apart rather than product-led, they will have the ability to gain a competitive edge.
When push comes to shove, there is very little difference in the product or service that you provide that renders you distinct from your competition. What will create this desired distinction for companies? Brand.
Having a clearly articulated brand creates the opportunity to definitively establish your identity and to take a position in the market. It’s how you show up, and it’s what makes you unique from your competition. It is clear, concise messaging that communicates the benefits your company brings to the table.
It is imperative that the collective organization understands that your brand is about building an experience. An experience to your employees, to your customers, and to your partnerships.
The brand strategy provides the foundation upon which you build your brand. It informs the content for everything that you do. Ultimately, your brand is more than just aesthetics. Providing customers with a memorable brand experience, tapping into customer emotions, sparking a connection–a relationship; that is the foundation of an effective brand.
It is an absurdity that during these times, companies are willing to upend their business strategy and make investments in innovation for growth, yet they fail to dedicate the required resources to understanding their customers to develop a brand that sets them apart. Perhaps Einstein was onto something with his idea of insanity. So if you want to finally see different results, it’s time to start thinking differently about going big on brand. And that time is right now. Reach out if you’d like to discuss anything that I have mentioned above.