6 Ways to Navigate this Economy: Maximize Your Brand Strategy for These Times

brand messaging brand strategy customer journey power positioning Jun 20, 2024

Are you feeling the pressure of an economic downturn? Maybe you've heard the dreaded "R" word—recession—whispered in the business corridors. Whether you're feeling the crunch or not, it's crucial to consider how to make the most of your marketing budget during these uncertain times.

Understanding the Impact on Your Customers

First and foremost, it's essential to recognize that economic changes impact your customers' behaviors and needs. During a downturn, your clients may change their buying habits, seek different types of content, and respond to new messaging strategies. 

As a brand strategist, it's my job to anticipate these shifts and adapt accordingly.

For example, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses had to pivot quickly to address new customer pain points, such as remote work challenges. Those who listened to their customers and created relevant content thrived, while others struggled to catch up.

I was Marketing Director for Eagala at the time the pandemic was announced. Within days we had constructed a PSA to put on our homepage. Perhaps now it’s time to get into action?


Here are 6 Ways To Thrive in These Times

1. Focusing on Data-Driven Decisions

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is making decisions based on anecdotal evidence rather than solid data. In times of economic uncertainty, it's more important than ever to rely on accurate metrics to understand which channels and campaigns deliver the best ROI.

Consider conducting a thorough audit of your marketing efforts. Identify the channels that consistently perform well and those that do not.

By focusing your resources on the most effective strategies, you get the most from your budget and achieve better results.  If you need help, schedule a free messaging breakthrough session.


2. Prioritizing Customer Voice

Listening to your customers is always important, but it's absolutely critical during an economic downturn. Conducting surveys, engaging in social listening, and analyzing customer feedback can provide invaluable insights into their current needs and preferences.

For instance, one of our clients, a mid-sized commercial roofing company, discovered through customer feedback that their target audience preferred the term "comprehensive assessment" rather than "investigation and analysis".  

By adjusting their marketing language, they saw a significant increase in traffic and engagement.


3. Identifying New Opportunities Through Search Data

Leveraging search data can help you uncover new opportunities and better understand your customers' evolving needs. By analyzing search trends, you can create content that addresses and speaks to the most pressing issues they face.

During economic downturns, new problems arise that customers search for solutions to.

By quickly adapting your content to meet these needs, you can stay ahead of the competition and provide valuable resources to your audience.


4. Optimizing Existing Content

Don't forget about the content you already have! 

Often, marketers focus on creating new content and neglect optimizing existing pieces. By revisiting and updating older content, you can improve its performance and drive more traffic without a significant investment.

Look for pieces that are performing well but could use a boost. Small adjustments, such as updating keywords or adding new information, can significantly impact your content's visibility and effectiveness. 

We repurpose our content all the time. Need help? Schedule a call. 


5. Aligning Paid and Organic Strategies

Finding synergies between your paid and organic marketing efforts can lead to more efficient use of your budget. For example, if your SEO efforts are ranking well for certain keywords, you might reduce spending on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) for those terms and reallocate your funds.

By coordinating your paid and organic strategies, ensure comprehensive coverage while optimizing costs.

This holistic approach can help you maintain a strong online presence even during budget constraints.


6. Experimenting with Cost-Effective Strategies

While it's important to focus on proven strategies, don't be afraid to experiment with cost-effective marketing tactics. Be active with your email list, try new social media campaigns, or explore partnerships with those who are aligned with your values and can offer valuable insights and new growth opportunities.

Remember, not all experiments need to be high-cost endeavors.

Sometimes, a few small tweaks and gathering customer insight can reveal significant improvements and new directions for your marketing strategy.


Be Strategic with Your Marketing Budget 

When it comes to thriving in these times, be strategic. Brand strategy is critical to a successful marketing plan when times are slow. When we take the time and space to get clear on our current resources, what our market is asking for, and are willing to pivot, we can build something that is worthy, valuable and functioning. 

To successfully navigate a slowing economy, consider adopting a structured approach to maximize your marketing budget. 


Drive Traffic to Your Website

Shore It Up 

First, take care of the traffic you already have coming to your website. Ensure your website is technically sound, with no broken links, no slow load times, or 404 errors. 

A well-functioning site is crucial for retaining visitors and ranking well in search engines. Tools like MozPro can help you monitor your site and identify any technical issues that need addressing.


Refresh Existing Content

Next, refresh and update the content you already have. From Google Analytics, you can Identify pages on your website that are performing well but could use some optimization. 

Update the keywords, improve outdated information, and enhance visitor experience and help boost your rankings and drive more traffic.


Become Known with New Content

Finally, expand your thought leadership messaging by creating new content that addresses current customer needs and that reflects your values. Use search data to identify high-priority keywords and topics that resonate with your audience. 

By focusing on relevant, valuable content, you can attract more visitors and convert them into customers.



Adapting to Thrive: A Case Study

Let’s look at a real-world example of successful adaptation during an economic downturn. One of our clients, a mid-sized B2B building contractor company, faced significant budget cuts during a recession. Instead of panicking, they decided to take prudent action. 

First, they shored up their website to protect their existing traffic by engaging our digital team to conduct a comprehensive audit to identify and fix any technical issues. 

Next, they refeshed their current content by:

  1. Updating old blog posts with new keywords,
  2. Live video calendar for social media, and 
  3. Started with new campaigns that encourage audience engagement.  

Finally, they expanded their content strategy by creating valuable resources for lead generation that addressed their customers' most pressing needs during the recession.

The result? Despite the budget cuts, their website traffic increased by 25%, and their lead generation efforts have become more efficient and effective. 

This case study demonstrates the power of a strategic approach to marketing during tough economic times.


Stay Ahead to Stand Out from the Rest of the Pack

I used to take my BMW 325i out on the 5 1/2 mile road track at the Virginia International Speedway in South Boston, VA. Every month, for a $25 donation, they hosted lunch laps on this exhilarating roadtrack, designed with s-curves, two straightaways (one a mile long!), and big, wide turns. This track had plenty of opportunities to exploit a competitor's mistakes—like not cutting the curve at the apex just right or missing the acceleration before the turn was over.

But here's the catch: during lunch laps, passing was not allowed!

The first time I went to drive the course, I arrived early enough to get as close to the front of the line as I could. I snagged the #3 spot. Ahead of me was a sleek sports car in #2, and holding the coveted #1 position was... drum roll...an old Chevy SUV.  What a drag.

When there's a 'competitor' that lacks market oomph like that old Chevy, you don't need to do much to surpass them. But that's not the kind of half-hearted effort I'm talking about. I'm talking about having a real brand strategy that drives your revenue goals and attracts the right customers.

Just like on the racetrack, in business, you need to seize every opportunity and outmaneuver the competition. So, in short—pass the son of a bitch!



Stay ahead of the competition during an economic downturn with these top strategies: 


1. Focus on Customer Retention

Acquiring new customers can be more challenging and expensive during a recession. 

Instead, focus on retaining your existing customers by providing exceptional service, personalized communication, and exclusive offers. 

Loyal customers are more likely to continue doing business with you and recommend your brand to others.


2. Enhance Your Brand's Value Proposition

During tough economic times, customers become more selective about where they spend their money. Enhance your brand's value proposition by clearly communicating the unique benefits and value you offer. 

Highlight how your products or services can solve their problems, save them money, or improve their lives.

Go back and revisit your power positioning content in your brand story.  (you have a brand story document right?) 

Does it need reorienting? Or is it you that needs to get back into alignment? 


3. Strengthen Your Online Presence

With more people spending time online, it's essential to strengthen your online presence. 

Invest in SEO, content marketing, and social media to increase your visibility and attract potential customers. 

A strong online presence can help you reach a broader audience and generate more leads.


4. Leverage Social Proof

Social proof, such as customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies, can significantly influence potential customers' purchasing decisions. 

Showcase positive feedback from satisfied customers to build trust and credibility. During a recession, people are more likely to trust recommendations from others before making a purchase.

Remember, share your values because buyers award instant trust to those they resonate with! 


5. Adapt Your Messaging

Finally, adapt your messaging to reflect the current economic climate. Show empathy and understanding for your customer's challenges, and offer solutions that align with their needs and concerns. 

Tailoring your messaging can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and build stronger relationships.


Need help? 

As we navigate these challenging economic times, it's the perfect moment to reassess your brand messaging and content strategy. 

  1. Are your messages resonating with your audience? 
  2. Are you addressing their current needs and concerns effectively?

I invite you to schedule a complimentary call with me.

Together, we'll evaluate your current content strategy and identify areas for improvement. 

This is an ideal time to ensure your brand message is clear, cohesive, and impactful.



In conclusion, I urge you to be brave and see this as an opportunity to think differently. 

Handling a slowing economy requires a strategic approach focused on customer needs, data-driven decisions, and maximizing existing resources. By listening to your customers, optimizing your content, and finding synergies in your marketing efforts, you can navigate these uncertain times with confidence.

Pay close attention to the roots of your business tree. A strong, compelling message is like the deep roots of a mighty oak, providing stability and growth, unlike the shallow roots of a weeping willow.

Let's use this time to strengthen your brand's foundation and prepare for future growth. Revisit your brand strategy and content development to turn these challenges into opportunities.

Schedule your messaging breakthrough strategy session now and ensure your content strategy is robust and effective.


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