But onto more immediate matters and those I have expertise in: marketing and branding.
I'm seeing that companies (both small businesses and our clients) have a huge choice to make. Hunker down and worry – or move forward boldly. Hide – or forge into marketing and brand building as never before. I favor the latter.
After 9/11, my design firm was hit hard. I restructured and never looked back. It was a good decision. My brand was somewhat known and it held up even when I moved from design to the broader spectrum of marketing, where I felt I could have greater impact.
The classic example of Coca Cola always comes up (not that I'm a soda drinker) but if CC were to lose all its production facilities, it could rebuild. If it lost all brand recognition, it would not survive.
It's ironic that many small companies bet the ranch on tangibles (office furniture, computers) without investing in their brands. They say they can't afford it.
I'm all for infrastructure. The computers must work efficiently and the office must look good. That's basic. It's actually all part of your brand . . . employee satisfaction, efficiency and the customer experience. Your brand is infrastructure too – how the world views you, how they experience you.
Differentiate or Die
The truth is you can't afford not to invest in marketing. It's a lesson I learned in the many years of working with Fortune 500s. They spend big time on marketing as we know. You can't cross the street without being bombarded by marketing messages. And they get a huge return on investment.
I'm expanding my marketing right now and I know several of my clients will also. As a result, I'm confident we'll weather the storms. We'll be there when the ranks thin out. And when the upturn comes, we'll be in a great position to mine for gold.
I hope you plan to join me. Be visible. It's a great time for marketing!
Tell us how you plan to survive the economic winds of change.