Flexible B2B brand and marketing solutions
It’s that time: end of year brand reviews and looking ahead to next year. Whilst many will be glad to see the back of 2020 from a business perspective, our recent conversations with business leaders highlight understandable nervousness about what 2021 will bring and how to plan for it.
There’s the temptation to simply and quietly work hard to weather the storm. But in our experience working hard is not always the same as working smart and building for the future.
Unless a business is conserving cash simply to survive, reducing or delaying investment in brand awareness during a recession, especially in comparison to competitors, is high risk. For us, it’s a no-brainer that those able to hold their nerve and continue (or increase) their investment in ‘share of voice’ during these times often benefit from greater increases in market share. It’s a somewhat bittersweet truism, as this paper by the FT and IPA highlights, “when others go quiet, your voice gets louder”.
“When others go quiet,
your voice gets louder”
[FT and IPA]
Deciding how to respond in turbulent market conditions has its challenges. As with so many things, it’s not nearly so scary when broken down. Having worked with a variety of B2B brands, we know that those with a clear vision for the future and values which are genuinely part of their DNA will find the complex job of setting brand strategy for the next 1, 2 or 5 years a little easier. What’s key is flexibility in the deployment of tactics and accepting that the journey to the goal won’t be linear or the one expected at the outset. Is it ever?
For larger businesses, the ability to reorganise their resources in response to market conditions by adjusting tactics is more easily achieved. Given the cost of employment and the length of recruitment cycles, it can be more challenging for smaller businesses to employ the right brand and marketing specialists internally at the required moment.
Working with small and medium-sized B2B and professional services firms in recent years – whose sales and transactions naturally ebb and flow in a more exaggerated way over longer cycles than B2C businesses – and being one ourselves, we understand the need to dial up resources at times of greatest need without long term, costly commitments. Being nimble and smart in spotting and responding to opportunities is one of the advantages of being a smaller business.
Using Bretom as an outsourced brand and marketing department without the overheads associated with paying full time executive(s) is commercially savvy. We’d argue that our clients get the best of both worlds: our model of building specialist creative teams based on each project or client’s requirements, means that we’re able to deliver a far broader skill set than a single in-house person or team could ever do. So, investing in what’s really needed, when it’s needed, and delivered by experts. For some clients we’ve delivered complete brand strategy, creative development and brand awareness campaigns; others are at a different point in their journey and ask us to support them with more tactical creative pieces, websites and digital content.
Although the next few months maybe uncertain, setting brand and marketing strategy can be a source of competitive advantage. As we’re reminded in this piece from Marketing Week, AG Lafley and Roger Martin wisely advised some time ago that we should not, “let what is urgent crowd out what is important”. Of course, a brand must respond to any changes in circumstance by pausing, reducing, changing (or even increasing) their brand awareness tactics; they should not lose sight of the bigger picture.