Finding symmetries in an unsymmetrical world ..

Why should you STILL spend money on advertising in turbulent times ?

Posted on: March 2, 2009

..And why being Creative will solve most of your problems if not all.


1. Outsmart your competition

The most obvious reason is that by still tuning in, you can knock off the weaker competition, and by a big margin .

But the point?

Where do I get the money from , simple , be creative, use low budget adds that Stick on, and that do not have to be telecasted endlessly to remind the customer of the sulking product on the shelf when he is out for his monthly groceries.

2. By being persistent and “hanging in” you send out a subtle message that you care more for the long term market positioning and “are there to stay”, unlike the companies who are spendthrift in bullish times and disappear in thin air in the  turbulent ones.


3. You send a selective message to the customer, because he wants to know what makes you STILL optimistic

Who doesn’t adore persistent people ?

Towards this the most lovable example I like to quote of is that of Obama, for he stood for Hope, belief and Trust that together they CAN. This Hope stood against the back drop of the most turbulent recessions in the contemporary times, but the definition of  Recession  which is “six consecutive months  of downturn in GDP there have been recessions every 4 or five years in US since 1854, and 112 recessions in 21 OECD countries since 1960 ( Source : Ogilvy And Mather)

So, if in the bad times you stand along with the customer and make him BELIEVE that the bad times will pass, you WIN.

4. The principle of Reinforcement

According to the principle of reinforcement, “Things stick on and tend to become a habit when persistently done “

The book ‘The Secret’ details more about it. Read my previous post here for more on this .

It is more likely the consumers purchasing habits stay on after the bad times,and you have acquired a larger customer base in transit.

5. Tell a story

Everyone loves stories.

Create a story of survival, and narrate it ! Simple .

People like genuine stories, stories of change, off beat, one that speaks the context. It doesn’t do much good to have beautiful model sliding on the sofa set , that symbolizes consumerism to 300 million middle class of India . Tell a story (may be )about a carpenter who is passionate about the joy he gets from building.

Air the narrative, and place them well in terms of channels that you broadcast this at.

A housewife who is sulking at “saas bahu..” isn’t interested in what joy it is to OWN an apple Ipod and go for a morning walk , may be if you told her that she could plug in her ipod shuffle when the saas gets nasty, that would do the magic.

If your product doesn’t have it, create it, but ultimately the product competes on its utility , especially for re-use items like food products, cosmetics and other utility items.

6. Throw your model of selling to a band of customers get a new one instead

Stop advertising believing that of the 100 customers you target, at least 20 will end up buying your product. This no longer works in the age of internet, when the consumer has your rival’s product specification and price quotes , past performance and every possible data at the tip of his finger.It is basic “Demand and Supply” and the only way to outwit is by being smart!

The new is that of Social Marketing. May be you are late , but late enough ?

Get the stats, spend money on getting authentic numbers, know who buys YOU and why ? know his pain points, alleviate it, create a happy consumer and he in turn will sneeze to get you al least 5 ! The good news is that the consumer trusts another consumer, and so is the bad news. Get out there, talk to HIM, and let him know that you are working on your Achilles”s heel  and that his voice does matter.



Those who survive are not just tough, they are smart, and adapt quickly



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