By: Paul Lowrey, Director of Strategy, Insight, and Marketing at Azerion
The supply issues gripping the country are more than a frustrating pain in the backside. We may well have had to queue for petrol and wait longer for the next Amazon arrival, but a growing threat is that the UK’s economic recovery will stall as these supply issues snowball.
A stalling of the economy in the lead up to Christmas is not just frustrating, it’s a huge problem for ad land because for many brands, retail especially, the lead up to Christmas is make or break for their year.
Boris has recently spoken of ‘growing pains’ but as the saying goes, perception is reality. For many consumers, the perception is that supply issues will reduce product availability, drive up prices, and leave Christmas in danger of being cancelled for the second year in a row. The reality is an anxious few months awaits the industry, as media plans will be influenced by marketing products that are potentially not available, or encouraging early purchase by taking advantage of consumer anxiety in the run up to Christmas. As a result, ad spend may be cut during such a pivotal time in the marketing calendar.
Indeed, there are already some signs that the “let’s not commit just yet and see what happens” approach of the pandemic has crept back in. It’s a temptation that’s hard to avoid, because like the pandemic, this is not an issue many of us have encountered.
However, it’s worth remembering that this unique issue is led by supply, not demand. Demand is always unique in the run up to the festive season. The usual rules of consumer diligence go out the window.
Brand performance is what matters
While we can laugh at those who may be stockpiling frozen turkey crowns, much like the petrol situation, many consumers will feel more comfortable knowing they’ve a full tank in the freezer. As such, this is not the time for advertisers to sit on the fence. The pandemic proved that in periods of uncertainty, big brands must invest to maintain market share, in the same way smaller brands have an opportunity to seize it. The likes of online retailer Studio have already paved the way with their early Christmas campaign.
Big or small, online advertising is uniquely poised to help with this challenge. Done correctly, digital allows brands to be creative, efficient, reactive, and quickly execute the brand performance that matters to the challenge. So if ever there was a time to make your brand perform better, this would be it.
How to respond to the supply chain crisis
So, how best to respond to the current situation? Here’s three tips for brands, agencies, and media owners alike on how to approach the supply chain challenges.
- Be ready to change. Quickly:
Sounds obvious, but in the current climate timing is everything. Those who have the forthright, know-how and bravery to amend campaigns (especially to external forces) will simply perform better than those who don’t or simply pause/pull the activity.
- Focus on your brand, not your product:
Consumers are interrogating brands more than ever. Put simply, brands matter. And your brand will matter a lot more if your product(s) aren’t available or there is limited consumer choice. Ensuring your creative messaging enables your brand to perform, not just your product, will enhance campaign effectiveness.
- Be efficient but measure correctly:
Digital loves to tie itself in knots with endless recommendations on efficiencies and attribution. Focusing on the results that actually matter for your brand – and the best way to buy and measure it – will cut through the chatter and guarantee better performance.
We may still be in a period of uncertainty, but if the last 18 months has proven anything, it’s better for brands to take action than simply do nothing. By amending campaigns, providing creative messaging to enhance campaign effectiveness and focussing on the results that matter; brands can work towards enhancing performance to drive sales despite the stalling of the economy and supply chain issues in the lead up to the festive season.