What Does the Recession Mean for Branding?

Credit markets are freezing up, retail projections are down, and consumer confidence is low. As branding agents, how can we take advantage of this situation?  How can the relative ease of building a new brand on the web versus building a new “brick and mortar” brand work in our favor?

“We’re in a death spiral right now,” said Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo.com. The term comes from aviation… when a greyed out sky makes it impossible to see that a plane is actually heading down.  “But strong pilots navigate their way out of it by paying attention only to their instruments.”

In this case, the grey is our stormy economic climate, and the instruments are solid metrics that every business must keep its eye on. Fortunately, website metrics are very easy to track. CPM, traffic, conversion rates, bounce rates, the list goes on. And new marketing campaigns and promotions can be executed and tested for as little as $25.

So now more than ever, it is important to launch small, targeted and tested branding campaigns. The easiest way to do this is to create smaller, microbrands so that we do not risk the larger brand equity. That may mean taking an existing brand and creating derivative products and services. Or that may mean testing new concepts before even launching a product.

Even if it is kept completely separate from the larger parent company at first, building a new brand should be taken seriously. A successful microbrand project may eventually represent a portion of your entire business, and re-branding at that point will be confusing to your customers and potentially expensive.  Selecting the right name, along with the right design and the right language will demonstrate your commitment to your new campaign.