As markets brace for an impending slowdown, brand managers should take a more proactive and agile stance: they need to not only win in the now, but also prepare for the medium-term, and transform their business to secure long-term growth, says the head of Ogilvy Asia.

This month, The WARC Guide looks at marketing in the COVID-19 recession, which, as GroupM’s Brian Wieser has made clear, will be both longer and deeper than expected – even countries that escaped the worst of the pandemic can’t avoid the economic consequences. (Subscribers can read The WARC Guide to Marketing in the COVID-19 Recession here.)

Writing in The WARC Guide, Chris Reitermann, CEO, Asia & Greater China, Ogilvy, stresses the need to manage all time horizons when considering this crisis.

First, there is the simple matter of survival – such Black Swan events can make or break a brand. But brand managers also need to look to the post-COVID future – no-one can yet pinpoint when exactly that will be, “but when it happens, it will happen fast, releasing pent-up demand”.

That future will be a different place, he suggests, marked by lasting shifts, both attitudinal and behavioural, creating new needs, new priorities – and new competitive opportunities.

“Marketers who manage to turn crisis into opportunity are those who consider and address impacts across the short, mid and long term,” Reitermann says.

And he offers ten best practices to prepare for now and the future:

1. Don’t wait for recovery; adapt to changes and focus investment on what is profitable now.

2. Review product / SKU portfolio due to changed consumer behaviour.

3. Disruption provides opportunity; revisit brand value and differentiation.

4. Think outside your physical brand experience. eCommerce acceleration plan: product mix, new channels, data systems.

5. Identify new growth opportunities: new occasions, new services.

6. Use the slowdown to innovate.

7. Maximize the value and power of existing customers.

8. Have a long-term brand/ portfolio plan centered on changed consumer behaviour.

9. Redesign/optimize your go to market plan: consider product mix, geography, sales channels and customer segment focus.

10. Be ready for the After. Agility is a must.

“It is imperative to secure the now, make up for lost ground as the recovery kicks in, and get on the front foot to turn behaviour and consumption shifts into long-term growth opportunities, Reitermann advises.

Read Chris Reitermann’s article in full for more details on the actions you can take to recession-proof your brandChris will be discussing these further in a webinar as part of the WARC Talks 360 series . You can find out more about these and register here.

The WARC Guide is a compilation of fresh new research and expert guidance with WARC’s editorial teams in New York, London, Singapore and Shanghai pulling in the best new thinking globally. It also showcases the best on WARC – case studies, best practice and data sourced from across the platform.

Sourced from WARC