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Things Are Changing – Let’s Learn from the Past

March 26, 2020

I often hear people say, “Boy, has my industry changed.” To that I reply, “Tell me an industry that hasn’t changed.” COVID-19 has taken the changes we might have lamented recently and made them seem mild. We are going through an economic change that none could have foreseen just a few months ago.

So how do you handle the uncertainty that has gripped our industry and our economy? Most importantly, how do you deal with your clients who are paralyzed with fear? In my opinion, the best way is to look 90 years into the past – The Great Depression.

The stock market collapsed in 1929. With it, so did the U.S. economy. Commerce was frozen, and fear gripped the nation. Sound familiar?

However, those companies that built a long-term plan and refused to be paralyzed by their fear won. Many of them increased their marketing budgets. When others let their brand die, they filled the “share of mind” void and invested in their brand.

You can read about some examples (and much more) by visiting our “Radio Survival Kit.”

Before the 1929 crash, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal took a back seat to hot prepared breakfast. Kellogg’s introduced Rice Krispies and spent heavily on marketing. They not only dominated the prepared breakfast category, but they have been successful for nearly 100 years since and counting.

By advertising during the economic downturn, Proctor and Gamble made Ivory soap a fixture in washrooms across the country, at a time when people could not afford soap. Ivory is still going strong. They even changed radio by becoming the top advertiser for many radio dramas, later known as “soap operas.”

Finally, the cigarette market was crowded with numerous brands. However, when other brands stopped or reduced their advertising, Lucky Strike continued marketing heavily. Their market share grew tremendously, and that stronghold maintained for decades.

Simply put, it takes belief and confidence, but those that advertise during these economic downturns will reap the rewards of their investment.

If you’d like our help making your case to your advertisers, please reach out to us.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner