Ten Top Tips : Getting Your Brand Ready For 2009

The turn of the millennium was touted as the time the whole world needed to be Y2K ready. But pundits are tipping that 2009 is really the year that will sort the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys and the brands from the also-rans.
There is nothing like crisis to test the fortitude of brand and the skill of those managing it.
The brands which will survive the 2009 maelstrom are the ones led by marketers who have started the year with plan, or two. Experienced marketers and CEOs are talking about having several business scenarios in place, depending on what the market brings. But the one consistent item at the top of the list is maintaining brand integrity.
We know it’s tough, and it will get tougher; it really is brand new world.

1. Start the year off with confidence. Act decisively and be brave. Have the courage to lead and the conviction to persist when things become difficult.

2. Watch competitors closely. The first-mover advantage will never be more evident. Make sure you stand out from the crowd. Show what’s different about your brand and why it should be chosen.

3. Spend more effectively. Brands don’t have to spend more money during downturn. They just need to ensure their spending is increasing value.

4. Remember that brand value is created over the long-term. Any action or inaction at this time will have direct effect on business’ ability to grow value over time.

5. Take the pulse of your market continuously. If you can’t access your market, speak to those who can. Once the data is back, work on understanding any changes – attitudes will have changed just as dramatically as market conditions.

6. Identify and challenge past assumptions. Seize opportunities to innovate. Every business model has been based on data that may no longer hold true.

7. Build ROI into your own thinking. It should be prerequisite for any brand-building activity.

8. Get your people on your side and treat your suppliers fairly. Goodwill is valuable asset – happy employees and suppliers create value.

9. Clean up your portfolio. You may find that it includes brands you don’t need, short-term fixes that you put in place to manage growth cycle, or generally confusing, unclear assortment of brands, names, and extensions.

10. Get ahead of the growth cycle. Prepare yourself for when the market turns. Do you have that energetic new marketing campaign in place, ready to go – or will you be scrambling to hold share when your competitors burst out of the gate? M

James Bickford is head of strategy at Interbrand New Zealand. Interbrand is amongst the largest brand consultancies and has 36 offices in 25 countries. www.interbrand.com

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