‘Strong brands needed to survive crisis’

COMPANIES will be able to survive the economic downturn if they manage to build a strong brand that has widespread consumer recognition, advertising experts said.

According to Margot Torres, vice president for advertising at McDonalds in the Philippines, a company’s brand needs to remain on top of consumers’ minds, especially now that they have little money to spend.

“It is in times of crisis when you must invest in your brand. This is the time when people will spend less and they need to buy your brand when they do spend,” said Torres.

For her part, Petron advertising director Charmaine Canillas said a well-established brand helps companies save time, effort and expenses on marketing, which will be helpful in a time of crisis.

“This is the perfect time to step back and review the basics because now more than ever, you have to justify the amount of money you’re spending. What you should concentrate on is building your brand. A very strong brand is cheap to maintain in the long run,” she said.

However, not all brands are well-known in the market. For the smaller companies who have yet to make their mark, Torres gave this piece of advice: “Understand each media. Decide rather than invest in everything.”

Companies tend to give up their budgets for advertising when the flow of money is tight. For instance, businesses said advertising budgets across all categories have been slashed by 20 to 30 percent as a result of the economic downturn.

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