It’s the one thing nobody wants to think about: Recession
In early December, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said he does not view recession as “a bad thing.” Dimon said, “It’s bad for America, it’s bad for people who are unemployed but it’s usually an opportunity for JPMorgan.” Dimon’s comment reveals the dirty little secret about recessions – strategic business leaders see recessions as unique opportunities for growth. The Great Recession was actually very good for a group of high performing businesses. How good? A BrandZ Global Brands study in 2010 revealed that the value of the world’s top 100 brands increased by four percent in 2009.
The Richards College study states that many of the businesses that outperformed competitors were prepared for a downturn — they either had a plan in place or operated within an entrepreneurial culture that made it possible to quickly adjust their plans when the downturn began. The research incorporates a fascinating collection of data from nearly a dozen past studies documenting business behaviors during U.S. recessions spanning four decades.
By following the actions companies took during downturns and the impact of those moves on the firms, the Richards College study reveals the best practices that helped companies excel, survive or, like Lehman Brothers, Circuit City and 156-year-old A&P, go belly up and disappear from the corporate landscape.
The vast majority of businesses reacted to the Great Recession by cutting marketing budgets. Across the business-to-business sector 60 percent of companies reported cutting marketing by an average of more than eight percent.
Before we get to the best practices of marketing during a downturn, let’s take a moment to point out what your organization should not do when the next downturn arrives.
Across-the-board personnel cuts are the single worst thing a company can do in a downturn according to Philip Kotler and John Caslione, co- authors of “Chaotics, The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence.” Companies that focused on communicating to and motivating employees during downturns experienced an increase in productivity, according to the Richards College study.
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