Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum

Article excerpt

Is it risky for brands to alter their positioning during a recession?

Barclaycard has signed a series of sponsorship deals in an attempt to establish an association with live music. But is the current economic climate conducive to this kind of brand repositioning?

NO - Simon Mahoney, Director, SMP

Not at all, provided they have the budget and resources to deliver. This seems to have been on the cards for Barclaycard for a while, given how many people use credit cards to buy music. For a bank to take the high ground in such a popular category is a good idea, regardless of the recession.

Many brands are using new and tactical messaging to tell a recession story. Mini used a series of ads to deliver a benefit hitherto never used by the brand. 'Sense appeal' used its frugal fuel consumption and fixed low-cost servicing to deliver a very relevant message for a brand that previously never talked about value.

Recessions don't last that long, fingers crossed - certainly not in the context of a major brand's lifespan - so if a brand alters its strategic positioning to deal with a downturn, it needs to consider where it can go when markets pick up again. Cutting price seems to be the misguided - and, frankly, stupid - norm this time around. Let's see how many brands can put their price back up as easily.

YES - Simon Davies, Marketing director, Molson Coors Brewing Company

If nothing else, a recession focuses the mind, but it does not change the fundamentals of marketing.

A good brand position does not become a bad one because of changing economic conditions. The recession did not cause Woolworths' problems, but it made the brand's lack of a clear position impossible to hide.

However, while a rock-solid and consistent brand position is of great value to all marketers, how that position is expressed will often change.

Tesco, for example, has launched a complete new range in direct response to economic conditions. However, the brand's position of 'Every little helps', is unwavering throughout.

Barclaycard's sponsorship of the Mercury Music Prize is merely a new expression of that brand's position. However, I struggle to articulate what that position is. Perhaps that's where the brand's biggest challenge lies.

Changing a brand position is always a risky business and this is never more true than in turbulent times such as these. …

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