Tag Archives: strategy

How has the recession affected brand strategy?

Many advertisers and marketers position their brand message to Maslow’s higher order needs (e.g. the need for belonging, esteem, self-actualization) on the pyramid.   Has the message changed as a result of the recession?

Mr. John Gerzema, author of Brand Bubble argued that because of the recession we need to embrace the lower order needs (e.g. the needs for safety and physiological protection) on Maslow’s hierarchy.  Fear and uncertainty are on the rise.  The marketers that will have a competitive advantage from this recession will replace passion with compassion.  Evidence of this includes Hyundai’s current campaign called Hyundai Assurance, which lets any Hyundai owner walk away from their lease or loan on a new Hyundai vehicle, if they lose their job within 12 months of the purchase.  In the first quarter of this year, the entire automotive industry in the US was down 38.4% between March 2009 YTD versus March 2008 YTD.  While Hyundai’s sales were up 0.7% during that same period.

There are a few businesses that have succeeded in the recession. Evidence is apparent with the Match.com, The Economist Magazine, LoveFilm and MTV.  In these four case studies, all are able to adapt to people’s interests as a result of people cutting back in their budgets.  The most compelling case study is with The Economist.  Its rich content about the recession and the banking crisis certainly appeal to people, but in my opinion,  it is its creativity in leveraging different media such as its podcasting, online content, magazine content and its educational guides on various subjects such as advertising that help differentiate this magazine with others.

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PC versus Mac advertising strategy

During the past few years, Apple has transformed itself from the days of the Apple II to being a hip, cool, and design-friendly brand.  Part of this success was predicated from their strong branding messaging as shown with the iPod advertising campaigns.  

This article by prominent blogger, Eric Karjaluoto, discusses the flaw in Apple’s latest advertising strategy.  Mr. Karjaluoto had made reference about Apple once being and acting like the brand challenger (especially during the iPod advertising campaigns), and because it has grown significantly, it is maybe a stretch to still view Apple as a brand challenger. Microsoft due to its ineffectual ads has been criticized for not being able to relate to its customers.  It is a brand leader and certainly acts like one due to its slow reactions to market trends.  

In the book “Eating the Big Fish” by Adam Morgan, it discusses how brands need to think and act like the challenger brand.  Symptomatic of the brand leader mantra, brands become complacent.  The latest Mac vs PC ads from Apple seem to reflect Apple acting like the brand leader, and not playing to its strengths, and Microsoft is able to capitalize on this mistake and act as a Brand Challenger to combat this.  Mr. Karjaluoto’s article showed several examples of Apple and Microsoft ads.

I agree with the analysis of the article that Apple’s advertising strategy should focus on their brand strength – its sleek designs and user friendly interface.  Here is an example of an ad I think is effective for Apple: