Yesterday, our Chief Strategy Officer, Christian Polman, attended a “virtual” Town Hall hosted by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) with leading industry economists. They discussed the decisions governments have, are and are about to make in response to the pandemic — not any moves made by brands, agencies or media companies — are the No. 1 factor that will influence how the ad economy responds to the recession.

While containment of the health crisis, and especially its impact on humanity, is the biggest factor, Christian Polman concurred that focusing on the “liquidity” of small businesses was the most important response to the economic crisis, because they are most vulnerable to the social displacement effects of the pandemic.

Christian drew on extensive historical data detailing how brands were impacted and responded in past recessions and making the case that brands that “maintained” or increased ad spending and share of voice, actually grew their market share considerably coming out of past recessions. He also suggested they should focus their marketing budgets on their brands vs. performance media and to avoid consume promotions, which actually erode brand equity during recessions.

Ultimately, Christian echoed Brian Wieser’s, GroupM Business Intelligence Global President, point about the need for decisive leadership during the current crisis — whether it is from governments or the private sectors — and said brand marketers had a lot to gain by taking leadership roles, showing numerous examples of brands that have already stepped forward with product innovations (liquor companies reengineering to make hand sanitizer or auto brands offering zero-percent financing) or messages that reassure their consumer audiences.



This article was featured in Mediapost.

First featured on 27/03/2020.


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