Graphic, Web & Logo Design. Your Business Branding Specialist. Mackay - QLD & Across Australia


Keep your business powering ahead


Running a business is a bit like sailing a boat, it requires understanding, time and attention to the surrounding elements. There will always be times when we need to change tack to keep us moving forward.

This article is about those times when we are facing sailing in stormy and uncertain weather. If we were to remove our sails and shut ourselves up inside, we would be at the mercy of the storm and waves. If instead; we batten down our hatches, maintain some good sturdy storm sails and stay strong at the helm we can make tremendous headway and even enjoy surging ahead on the crest of a wave!


How many times have your heard this conversation?

“How’s business?”

“A bit slow, how about you?”

“Yeah same here, people just aren’t spending anymore”

It’s usually followed by a thought process that goes something like this....” Not much good investing in marketing and advertising if people aren’t spending money. We’ll just have to tighten the belt and weather the storm!”


It could be that the reverse is actually true! There is good evidence to show that now is the best time ever for strutting your stuff, building a strong business brand and securing a stable long term place in the market place.

In 2008, Prof. Andrew J. Razeghi from the Kellog School of Management, Northwest University put together a report that gives real power to the notion that times of recession and depression are, in fact, the best and most important time to market your business. The report is called Innovating Through Recession and is still available for reading. The following are excerpts from this report:

In a study of over 600 Businesses McGraw-Hill Research found that: Business that maintained or increased their ad spend during the 1981-1982 recession averaged higher sales growth during the recession and in the following 3 years!
By 1985 – sales of aggressive recession advertisers (maintained or increased spending) had risen 256% over those that had cut back on advertising.
Likewise in 2001 – another study found that aggressive recession advertisers increased market share 2 ½ times the average for all businesses in the postrecession economy
In 2002 – the Strategic planning institute illustrated that during economic expansion although 80% of businesses increased their advertising spend there was NO improvement in market share

Why? - because everyone has increased ad spending!

The excerpts included here refer to advertising, but let’s expand that and use the term ‘marketing’ because there is a whole lot more to promoting your business than just advertising. Innovating through Recession is just one publication advocating positive promotion during economic downturn and it's worth doing the research to gain these insights. 

In a nutshell, the almost overwhelming response from industry experts is that economic downturn and recession times are the best times for business to listen to the customer, fine tune their offerings and fill the spaces left by their fallen competitors. Those businesses who think, plan and act will cement their position in the market for the long term.


There is no better time to market and build your busines than during an economic downturn!


I don’t know about you, but I find that very exciting news! Not only does it mean that there are ways we can keep our business growing through tough times - it also means that the work we do now can be most effective in strengthening our business for the future!

Your business marketing and promotion can be likened to pushing a car. Most of us have had to push a car at some stage for various reasons. At first it’s very hard, but once you get it moving, maintaining that momentum is relatively easy. Build up a bit of speed and you can even keep it moving up hills. You may lose a little momentum, but making it to the top is a buzz when you get to cruise down the other side! Now, let me ask you this...what happens if you STOP PUSHING part way up the hill? Not only do you lose your forward momentum, you risk rolling backward - back to square one where you need to expend extra energy just to get the vehicle moving again!

Ok, I hear you saying -advertising is expensive and right now we don’t have the same funds we used to have! You’re right - the trick to flourishing during a downturn is to think smart and start innovating.

I'd like to share with you, some practical ideas and strategies you can use to keep your business growing while everyone else is worried about just staying afloat.


First, here’s a tip that will help you to start thinking differently about your business:

Customers have not stopped spending - they do however, consider their purchases more carefully and you can bet they’re looking for the best bang for their buck! For example when overseas travel declined as a result of economic downturn, there was a corresponding increase in sales of camping gear and lifestyle equipment such as home theatres.

It’s always worth spending some time to survey and talk to your customers. Find out what’s going on in their world, and learn how you can be a part of it.


How to Influence their Decision to Shop With You

I have already talked about finding out what your customer’s new needs and values are, so lets look at other ways you can influence the customer’s decision to shop with you.

Give them Value

Price is always going to be an important factor, however using price reductions during an economic downturn can start a price war you may never recover from. Your margins are eroded, profits drop and long term.  Starting a price war is a downward spiral and you will soon  find your business in an even more difficult situation. When the dust settles you’ll find it very hard to bring your prices back to a normal level and your price hungry customers will look elsewhere.  Customers haven’t stopped spending, they’ve just changed how they spend and what they spend their money on. Find out what your customer values, provide it and your’e in the game again!

Price is not the only factor that is valued and can influence a purchasing decision. Let’s level the playing field and see what happens: You have decided to purchase a microwave oven. You have chosen the exact brand and model you want. There are two suppliers you can choose from and both have the microwave oven you want at exactly the same price. Now that the item and price are out of the equation what are the things that influence you to purchase from one supplier rather than the other?

How many things can you think of?

There are many things that might influence your decision to buy, but in the end it all comes down to which supplier is going to give you better value for your dollar. We value things like service, time savings, guarantees, loyalty bonuses, delivery, friendly attitude, great environment, ease of access (location), reputation and more. In fact, sometimes the presence of these value added things outweighs the pricing equation!

The real benefit of adding value is this: customers perceive these things as bonuses - it makes them feel good. Not only have they been able to purchase the item or service they need, the experience has been a positive one - which makes it memorable and encourages customer loyalty.

Now you’re starting to build something that is durable and gives your business stability!


Build a Strong Brand

A strong business brand - YOUR business brand, can represent a range of values that automatically registers with the customer at any point of contact.
It’s worth spending time thinking about this and developing long term branding strategies aimed at creating customer loyalty, competitiveness and positive reputation. Within these strategies are your individual marketing and promotional activities. These may have short, medium or long term objectives but all should be developed within the framework of your business branding goals.

Define your business culture and build a relationship with the customer that is based on trust and security. Not only will you find your competitiveness increases, so will customer loyalty and your attraction to new customers. Once you have the message right at every point of contact you will start to grab some traction!

Strong brands draw new customers, create loyalty and increase competitiveness!


Measure Results and get ‘tweaking’

In a changing world, it’s always wise to make use of tools to measure your success. It is only through continual appraisal of your business and the market place that you can identify opportunities and areas that may need adjusting. Just like sailing a yacht, you need to ‘tweak’ the sails in response to conditions to get the best out of your boat.

Set achievable goals and make sure you set dates to review your progress. This is applicable from your long term business goals right down to individual marketing and promotional campaigns.


Build a Team - Be a Team!

One of the most important things you can do is to share your vision and get others involved. From business partners, to staff and all those other people who participate in your business such as accountants, lawyers, advisors and designers. All those people are acting with you or on your behalf and benefit from understanding what your business brand is all about, in order to help you achieve your goals.

To create and maintain your important brand, your customers must receive the same brand experience at every point of contact. Choose to work with people with passion and the right expertise to help you define and grow your business profile. The notion that you are only as strong as your weakest link, is a very credible one.


Keep Learning

There are a wealth of easy to access resources available for businesses today. The internet is a positive well-spring alone! Of course, not every piece of information is as valid as the next so exercise some caution!


Take Action Now!

Get busy building a powerful and enduring brand and more than half of your marketing is already done! Talk to me about setting up some structure for discovering and building your unique business brand culture, mission and vision.


Call now and let's get started! 0438 767 148



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Mackay, QLD & across Australia

Ph: 0438 767 148

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