How brand tracking can make marketing investments recession-proof

In times of economic uncertainty, brand risk management is crucial.
05 January 2023
brand equity during recession
Lee Smith

Director, Product Marketing, Brand Guidance

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Kantar evidence from the last recession of 2007-2009 demonstrates that tightening the purse strings starts with the marketing budget. Brands typically become reactive rather than proactive. However, to continue building brand equity, this isn’t always the correct decision.

Brand tracking does more than help marketers understand which lights can be switched off, and which are essential for maintaining brand equity. Brand tracking offers early indicators and diagnostics to help you get efficient with your budget.

How to monitor brand performance

It takes courage to build brand equity and focus on growing your brand in the midst of an economic downturn. But once you’re on other side of a tough market and have achieved longer-term brand growth, it will be worth it.

How can brand tracking help you navigate risk?

Here are some examples:

  • Brand tracking can help you steer your advertising and raise awareness and recognition of your brand. With consumers spending less, brands are competing for a smaller slice of the pie. You want to be the most loved brand, with the highest number of loyal customers to reduce the risk of losing market share. Brand tracking investment provides that critical eye to regain your edge and lets you move faster when the economic downturn subsides. Surviving challenging times is all about agility and maximizing limited, existing resources.
  • Understanding and tracking brand health lets you see where you are landing – and missing – brand goals. Without this information, you run the risk of placing marketing investment into an unsuccessful campaign. Evaluating the performance of your brand in particular areas will help you uncover opportunities to improve.
  • Brand tracking helps you pinpoint where to focus your marketing investment for the most success. Brands are faced with media inflation and ongoing media proliferation. So how can you do more or the same with less? That’s where data from tracking can help, whether your challenge is about awareness building, refining your relevance or delivering better campaigns, brand tracking data will ensure you don’t spread your brand’s message too thin.

Successful marketing in an economic downturn

Our insights from previous economic downturns have helped our clients to better connect with their consumers and make their investments more effective. Winning share in challenging times is all about agility and maximizing limited resources.

It is possible to monitor brand performance successfully, even in challenging times. So, what does success look like in times of economic downturn?

Here are some examples of how we’ve worked with brands to succeed with the right recession-proof marketing strategy:

Reacting to brand tracking data means better marketing decisions

In the last recession, a leading premium chocolate brand shrunk its marketing investment. Brand tracking showed that, while the category was declining as a whole, they were declining more than other brands.

A lack of investment in their brand marketing strategy led to a significant loss during the economic crisis. They pivoted with new advertising investment and through tracking they were able to assess which ad and which campaign was working best for the brand.

Focusing brand investment on two campaigns showed improvements over time. Early knowledge from brand tracking showed which media channels worked best so our client could focus investment and improvements on digital planning.

Timely consumer insights allow for better ad optimization

In this case our premium brand client’s tracking data indicated a decline in key metrics as the recession started. They quickly responded with investment in new advertising. Their tracking data showed that the new ads were helping the brand reverse its decline, strengthening trial and its desired positioning on nutrition. In addition to reversing the trend, due to Kantar’s brand tracking, the team secured additional budget to strengthen its recovery.

There is no doubt times are tough. Phrases like economic recession, economic depression and the cost-of-living crisis force consumers and marketers alike to be careful where they invest their money.

Brand tracking facilitates risk management for successful brands:

1. Stay in tune with customers to bolster decision-making

Staying relevant and keeping consumers happy are critical when building a campaign for marketing in an economic downturn. Brand tracking brings a multi-dimensional consumer view and measures what matters to your business among the consumers that matter, especially if your product or service is not an active part of social conversations or if your sales process is weighted towards offline.

2. Base marketing investments on constant data monitoring

Constant data monitoring is always valuable. Even more critical is making data-driven decisions on time, using the right leading indicators for a business, not metrics that give a partial view.

3. Move faster than competitors

Brand tracking, helps you spot opportunities and potential risks so you can build an appropriate and successful brand marketing strategy.

4. Create brand plans that look beyond the crisis

Past examples of successful brand planning show strong brand equity and helps sustain sales performance more effectively than a strategy based on promotions.

Tip: Kantar’s brand guidance system brings you easy access to brand performance data, and measure what matters to business growth and business value.

Make confident decisions in difficult times

Marketing in an economic downturn is never going to be easy. The world is constantly changing , but we can all change with it. Our brand tracking programs are designed to provide timely and relevant insights to help you create the best marketing strategy for your brand, and to understand the consumer in the current economic climate.

Find out more about our future-focused brand guidance systems and watch our on-demand webinar, Under Pressure: What marketers need to know for strategic planning for more insights about brand building in recessionary times.

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