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Investing in Brand Building during recessions

27 October 2020: Customers have long memory that retains the positive way brands made them feel during the dark days, reciprocating when the situation turns. This is what Prof. Nirmalya Kumar, Lee Kong Chian Professor of Marketing, Singapore Management University said at the 4th CII Marketing Leadership Summit 2020 organised by the CII Centre of Excellence for Leadership. He drew international cases of companies leveraging their learning to come up with brand launches towards the end of the recessionary cycle to reap the maximum benefit. Companies following the conventional route of cutting down on investments in research or promotions lost out most in the capitalising the opportunities emerging in the marketplace.

Prof. Nirmalya Kumar said that creating better brands, enhancing their value proposition by deploying an integrative advertisement spend adopting an intelligent mix backed by insightful R&D and pricing strategies. A key insight offered was to turn more empathetic to customer’s needs and standing by them, while keeping their ears to the ground with the maxim “How can we help to deliver more”. He pivoted the conventional view of cutting back on promotional budgets during crisis, through real life examples of brands increasing their profits and moving ahead of competition, by investing heavily in strengthening their respective brand propositions and evolving long term discernible competitive advantages.

Ms. Rama Bijapurkar said that with supply chains being affected by disruptions present a very different set of challenges in this world that was VUCA on steroids. She then shared several pandemic responses that unlocked value in these Darwinian times, with technology that heralded a digital transformation at unprecedented quarters like vegetable vendors adopting social media platforms and farmers connecting with consumers directly leading to de-intemediatarisation.

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