Somehow, there is always reason to worry about what is going on in the market. Uncertainty leads to general indecision. Fears of an impending recession have frozen businesses, slowing growth.
Throughout my career, there have always been some looming, unexpected threats that could completely ruin my business. Buildings burned down, hurricanes hit, tsunamis on the other side of the planet devastated supply chains, the Great Depression, the Great Resignation, political and tax policy, the pandemic, and now inflation. I even had to get over concerns about the impact of nuclear radiation on the products we sell to our customers.
All this and countless more over the past 14 years.
Two conclusions: The only thing you can be sure of in your business is that there will always be some looming existential threat, and having a brand rooted in innovative thinking is the key to getting you through tough times .
A good economy makes lazy businesses.
When the economy creates “easy money”, the natural result is that more businesses enter the market. Startups are easier to get started, existing businesses are easier to scale, and it is easier to find investment capital or obtain a loan. Acquiring customers is easy, so business owners are getting lazy in their marketing and sales methods.
Why invest in something esoteric like branding and marketing when customers just come on their own through word of mouth?
Economic The recession knocked out businesses that couldn’t adapt to challenging sales cycles.
During a recession, selling just wasn’t that easy. Compared to boom times, consumers are more price-sensitive as their actual or perceived access to cash begins to dry up. Panic about the future causes anything deemed unnecessary to be delayed, cancelled or scaled back.
Sales cycles have become longer and more competitive, and word of mouth isn’t as effective as it used to be. It will only get tougher. What a brand does to a company is build a huge moat that helps reduce the impact of economic change.
Companies that don’t spend the time and money to thoroughly develop their brands are left vulnerable and simply ill-prepared for challenging sales cycles. A brand represents the core identity of a company, and when it is missing or weak, a company becomes “another of them”, indistinguishable from anyone else.
You don’t close deals during a recession when you’re no different from everyone else.
Brands pass the recession.
A company connects with its customers through its brand because a brand is the identity and soul of a company. As a business owner, your goal must be to develop that brand.
The way you develop your brand is to really analyze who is buying your product or service. What do they care about most and how do they feel before and after doing business with you? It’s not enough to say you’ve been in business for X years and care about customer service, because every company on the planet says that, and it doesn’t make any sense.
Once you have identified who you are and who your ideal customer is, you need to gain insight into why you are doing what you are doing. What’s the point of it? A unique offer to the world? Why should people care about it?
Finally, simplify your approach to market problems so that anyone can easily understand it. The simpler the language, the more people “understand” and understand you and your value. What is your unique angle in the market that sets you apart from others offering the same product?
Master the branding process and implement it into your marketing, a recession will be your greatest opportunity. Ignore it and you’ll be limping through it, or worse, counted in the icy statistics of those who fail.