In recent months I’ve been hearing that marketing departments in big FMCG companies are concentrating their efforts on price, raw materials and packaging sizes. I don’t doubt the importance of these factors, but tactics should not be confused with strategy. No long-term brand battle has ever been won by playing with the Excel file and costing numbers.
Let’s start with facts and context. Inflation, scarce raw materials, border issues, war, energy problems, international trade hindered. We could say that the panorama of the last six months has created a complicated horizon.
It’s also true that there is another important set of macroeconomic and political data that, without denying the above, actually indicates a positive horizon. We’re talking increased personal savings, high levels of employment, and an easing of the pandemic. However, a cloud of negativity is conquering the skies – those over Europe, at least.
And in the face of all this, what are many marketing departments planning? Basically, developing equations of all kinds to reduce costs, sizes, quality of ingredients. That’s what I’ve been hearing.
I can only say that if I’ve learned anything in my career, it’s that what many like to call “emotional value” is precisely more relevant and important in difficult times. No long-term brand battle has ever been won by playing with the Excel file and costing numbers.
It’s easy to communicate smiles, positive mood, flowers and fun when everything is going well. But if what is called emotional has any value, believe me, it’s exactly when things get messy. Knowing what to communicate and how to connect on an emotional level in these times is a matter for the brave.
Of course, you have to manage prices, raw materials, etc. But really, the relevance and positioning of brands are consolidated precisely when they fly through turbulence. If, in these moments, we manage to be close, useful, safe, relevant… that’s when we can gain space or future market share.
In Spain, there’s a popular saying that goes: when the river is rough, the fishermen win. Which means that it’s during confusing or complicated situations that opportunities are found.
I hope you enjoy successful fishing and a safe autumn. But remember: not everything is done.