Steve Laughlin

Lean Into It

I’m reminded we’re in a recession every time I check my e-mail. Where were all these people who want to turbo-charge our new business efforts a year ago? Employed probably.

Ironically, while there’s a universal shortage of business, there’s no shortage of new business opportunities. According to a contact at AdForum, web searches for agencies are up nearly double what they were a year ago.

While a new agency may or may not be the answer to jumpstart a brand, new thinking is definitely needed. No matter what your business, the competition is starting to look like hyenas around a fresh kill on the Serengeti. Discounts are so deep whatever normal was won’t ever be normal again. A Wisconsin car dealer is throwing in a free used car for every new car purchased. Unreal. The real surprise is, it’s working. He’s trying to hire 50 people to meet the demand.

If there’s a lesson in this, it’s don’t be shy. Now more than ever brands need to get their edge on. It may be harder to afford advertising, especially in the face of incredible consumer resistance and uncertainty, but there’s little doubt those pushing hardest will get fed first.

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