Time to increase your spending on brands

rice-krispies-ad1The New Yorker magazine has an interesting piece this week about corporate spending on brand advertising and promotional activity during tough economic times, like now. Read it and perhaps you will agree that now is the time to increase, not cut back on, your brand building activities.

The article mentions several examples of brands that have taken different routes, some expanding their spending, some cutting back. The author, James Surowiecki, notes that most brands that came out of hard times strongly, do so after holding or increasing their spending on brand building activities.

He starts with a Kellogg and Post example. During the 1930s Kellogg introduced new products like Rice Krispies, and doubled ad spending. Post cut back on expenses and advertising. The result was that Kellogg’s profits increased 30% by 1933 and became the dominant player in breakfast cereals, where they remain to this day.

Seems to me there is a lesson for everyone here. Anecdotally, I am beginning to hear about a real slowdown in some areas of marketing services, reflecting an overall retrenchment by marketers. I agree with James though. While it may be a tough call to increase your marketing activities while the sky seems to be falling, historically some of the best and most enduring brands have done exactly that.

 

Acknowledgements

The image above is a 1931 ad for Rice Krispies. 

 

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About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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