I once heard the story of two detergent companies who struggled during the Great Depression.
One company decided to pull back on their marketing to save costs. The other decided to advertise even more.
Which one survived?
The one who positioned their brand by putting it repeatedly in front of their customers.
Which brand was that?
Procter & Gamble.
I wanted to know more about this story, so I looked it up on the Internet.
Procter & Gamble’s surviving and thriving during the Great Depression is an inspiring, instructive story. Following are three lessons that will help your small business through any economy, including a struggling one:
1) Don’t Hold Back
Procter & Gamble struggled like everyone else during the Depression. Inventories piled up when regular customers cut back on orders.
But P&G realized that customers need soap even in a bad economy. Why not buy it from them?
What did they do? The company did not hold back. They invested money in advertising to get their brand in front of their potential customers.
What about your brand? Are you holding back on your marketing to cut costs?
Think again! You want your brand in front of people. This is the only way your brand will gain position in the marketplace.
Find ways to double your efforts in marketing your brand. By keeping in front of your customers, you will put your brand on top, even in the worst economies.
Maybe you really can’t afford much of a marketing budget. If so, think of using “sweat equity.” How can you use free or low-cost ways to get your brand in front of your prospects? Whatever you do, give it all you got! The survival of your brand depends on it!
What kind of brands from your company do people need even in a bad economy? Develop and market these and you will thrive!
2) Flow with the Times
What I found even more interesting about this story is how P&G pursued innovative marketing strategies to position their brand on top.
They went with the times. They could see that radio, a relatively new medium, was the way to advertise. They sponsored daily radio serials which eventually came to be known as “soap operas.” They branched out into producing more soap operas and in 1950 made the first television soap opera, The First Hundred Years.
What about you? Are you able to go with the times? Have you learned everything you can about Internet marketing? This is the medium that’s taking the world by storm!
And there are many avenues of online marketing: article writing, video marketing, social bookmarking, pay-per-click, banner ads, ezine marketing, just to name a few.
Study the trends and get smart. Realize the next marketing wave of the future and get in on it immediately. The companies who do this with their brands will position themselves as leaders even in the worst of economies.
3) Identity with Your Niche
This is probably my favorite part of the P&G story: the company identified their target market as homemakers. But not only that, they identified with their market by creating the character Ma Perkins, a kind widow. The audience fell in love with these stories!
Not only did P&G go after the target market of homemakers, but they were determined to solve their pain, even at great risk to their company! They really believed in what they were doing and put the resources behind it!
You see, back in the 30s and 40s, laundry was a backbreaking ordeal for homemakers. Soap flakes were the only thing on the market, and even that was not effective.
P&G spent many years developing a new product called Tide. It revolutionized the life of the homemaker and was an instant hit! Tide solved the problem of long hours trying unsuccessfully to get clothes clean. Coincidentally, Tide was launched at the same time as automatic washers. Talk about timing!
What about your market? Whom do you have an affinity for? What solution do you have that could solve your prospects’ problems? What innovative ways can you relate to your customers?
Are you determined to solve their problems? Put your resources into it? Are you aware of market trends? What do your prospects need, want, and desire?
So are you ready to position your brand as a leader? Then follow these strategies and never forget the inspiring story of Procter & Gamble! You, too, can survive any economy.
In fact, you can thrive!
To learn more about creating your own brand image and how you can make that brand more effective, download my FREE report, 10 Ways You Can Make Your Brand Sizzle!
Dana Susan Beasley is principal and publisher of AngelArts.biz, and the author of a 3-month graphic design and marketing course called Brand Identity Quest. An experienced and creative graphic artist, she has been helping companies, organizations, and artists reach new heights in their branding for over 17 years.