The Wall Street Journal pens an article about Coach purses and what they are doing to expand their brand. Clearly it is a strong brand today, but they play at the upper end of the price curve. Inside the article is a poignant comment from their CEO regarding marketing:
We want to be transformative in the way we look. You can’t be iterative when the economy is tough.
Simple, sound point he makes, isn’t it? If you continue down a repetitive path, you are going to run into revenue shortfalls in this slow economy. You have to change something up, refocus it, introduce something new, etc. Some of the most successful lines were launched during a recession.
What do MTV, Trader Joe’s, and the iPod have in common? Yes, of course, they’re all now ubiquitous and make our lives much more agreeable.
But to us, the most interesting thing about all three is that these great brands were born during recessions. (Trader Joe’s: 1958; MTV: 1981; iPod: 2001, if you are scoring at home.)
And therein lies a point everyone seems to be forgetting in the midst of the current economic slowdown. If handled correctly, a downturn can be a good thing for your company. It can give you the opportunity — and the funds — to innovate and get a substantial leg up on the competition.
Stagnant companies get stagnant, or worse, results during slow times. The same is true for salespeople. Some get overwhelmed with the economy, assume nothing can be done and give up. Or discount drastically. Or change careers. Whatever the outcome, now is the time for strong leadership from the sales manager and a unique marketing message that creates some buzz.