Why the Next Recession Can Be Your Opportunity For Growth

When the COVID-19 virus hit the U.S. early in 2020, manybusinesses were forced to suspend operations or scale backwithout much time to prepare or inform their employees.

Businesses that were allowed to operate under strict social distancing guidelines were forced to quickly adapt to a “new normal.” So many aspects of our everyday lives, both professional and personal, were affected that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume the effects of this pandemic will be felt on our economy long after it passes.

The resulting impact of this pandemic could bring on a recession that can cause your business to experience a downturn. The good news is, and this may be surprising, that recession can also bring growth for those who recognize and seize the opportunity.

Here are three areas that you can look to actively develop during a recession to help prime your business for growth.

Branding and Marketing

Have you been contemplating whether or not it’s time for a brand refresh? Maybe you’ve been meaning to update your website or marketing materials but have not found the time to do so.

Whether it be a recession or an economic downturn, the perceived threat of uncertainty triggers a natural fear reaction in us. Fear of loss and mistakes lead to many people pulling back and reducing spending. As a result, marketing budgets and ad spend are usually the first to be cut.

History has shown that those that do successfully double down on their marketing and content strategy during a recession end up taking a higher market share and increase their ROI.

The drop in demand presents a great opportunity for you to connect with your audience for two reasons:

  1. There is less competition and noise in the marketplace, and
  2. You can typically purchase media at a reduced rate, increasing the efficiency and reach of your spend.

The global pandemic and the consequential changes in people’s behavior presented an opportunity for brands to update their imagery and messaging to reflect new priorities and lifestyle changes.

A good example of an organization reshaping how they reach their audience is the City University of New York (CUNY). CC:S is helping three key programs at the university —CUNY ASAP, CUNY Start, and CUNY Foster Care Initiative — move their recruitment efforts online to reach potential students. In the past, these programs focused on a combination of recruitment efforts, including recruitment fairs, in-person visits to local schools, and on-campus signage and events. A portion of their marketing budget was spent on bus wraps and subway ads. Now that students are distance learning from home, these CUNY programs are now focusing their efforts on boosting online engagement through their websites, social media, email campaigns, digital ads, and virtual workCommunitys.

Bottom line: strong brands evolve to stay relevant and demonstrate the unique ability to adapt to changes in their audience’s lives, especially during trying times.

Expanding your portfolio of goods and services

When growth slows down, it’s your chance to evaluate your business model and identify any gaps or development opportunities you need to focus on. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to find ways to better serve your consumer and have not had an opportunity to do so.

Let’s take a real life example from CC:S.

In the past, clients usually came to CC:S after a brand strategy was already formulated and tasked us to create the brand identity and marketing materials, when in reality we were able to do both.

This was an opportunity for us to actively promote brand strategy development as one of our key capabilities and by doing so, we achieved three important goals:

  1. We are now able to showcase a more comprehensive range of services to our clients.
  2. Our client workstream process can now be streamlined — clients no longer have to work with separate firms and facilitate communication between multiple parties.
  3. We increased the overall profitability of our business model.

Learning and Education

One of the most important things you can do when you have extra time is to allow your business and employees to invest in learning and education.

Rarely do we have the luxury of taking time away from our client work and busy days to deliberately acquire new skills or read about the latest trends in our industry. While it’s normal and even expected for us to learn new skills just doing our everyday jobs, there is no intention or purpose behind this kind of growth.

Conversely, when we learn and acquire new skills with a purpose, we’re actively targeting a topic or expertise that can make the most impact for our clients and our bottom line. Growth and development are essential in order for your business not only to stay ahead of the curve, but continue to provide value to your audience as well.

Make a list of the skills and certifications that you think will help you in your business and career development, then rank your top 3 in terms of practical use and impact. Make it a priority for you and your team to learn the skill or obtain the certification in a defined amount of time to ensure that it is completed in a timely manner.

Conclusion

As the proverb goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” We are forced to do more with
less when faced with scarcity and uncertainty. We can choose to sit back and be reactive to
our circumstances, or we can proactively seek opportunities for growth by
creating a new path forward.

Are you ready to take the next step? Reach out to us and see how we can help.