Shift execution, not vision

In today's tough times, the temptation is to throw away years of hard work in creating and implementing a vision for your brand in a desperate chase for sales. Many brands are moving money from brand building activity to sales promotion, such as "buy one get one free" or BOGO for short.

Tom Fishburne has worked his usual magic and summed this up in one of his brilliant cartoons:

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The smartest brands are finding a way to react to the recession but in a way that reinforces their brand, rather than diluting it. This is easier if you are already a low-priced brand, such as budget airline Ryanair or leading supermarket Tesco. However, this is harder of you're a more mainstream or even premium brand.

One brand that has managed to pull off this challenge is retailer Marks & Spencer, who positions themselves as being "exclusively for everyone". They are a more upscale seller of food, and also clothing. Recent results overall were not great, with like-for-like sales down 5%. Howevever, the bright spot was a successful promotion based on the idea of "Dine in for £10". You can get a main-course for 2, side dish, dessert and bottle of wine for £10. You choose from a "menu" to create your own dine-in experience.
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An alternative, easier route would have been to simply say "30% of wine, ready meals and desserts". But the "Dine in for £10" idea is much more on strategy of offering people something an affordable way to make a night in a bit more special.

The Dine in for £10 is also a great buzz generator. This thread I found on MoneySavingExpert was viewed 110,000 times. M&S dine for £10 gave a total of 29,300 hits on Google.

More on "recession-proof branding" in 2 earlier posts here and here.