Colmar Brunton has been tracking the pulse of the nation for the past three years, and we’re starting to see a more positive outlook from New Zealanders across a whole range of indicators, mirroring the shifts that have been noted recently in the business sector.
People are increasingly positive about the affordability of real estate, the price of petrol, and the cost of living. Everything’s always on sale, and mortgage interest rates haven’t been this low in a decade. So while unemployment continues to climb, there’s a whole lot more money in the pockets of the more than 90 percent of us who remain employed. And while we’re being cautioned not to read too much into it, retail spending in May showed the biggest monthly growth in more than 18 months.
A recovery? Perhaps it’s too soon to make that call. But in the many conversations we’re having with people throughout New Zealand, the sense of anxiety and doom that paralysed consumer spending towards the end of last year is certainly lifting. Truth is, many of us are just a bit fed up with being pessimistic and parsimonious. We’re looking for good news. We want to treat ourselves (small treats, that is, not big, expensive ones). We’re already thinking about summer, sunshine, Christmas and holidays.
- Don’t cut back on marketing or innovation. Increasing your marketing and R&D spend at a time when competitors are reducing theirs will substantially increase the profile and appeal of your brand, and help you establish a market share advantage that endures for many years.
- Avoid aggressive discounting to maintain sales. Because when the recession ends, you don’t want to be stuck with a lower price point that people now regard as normal, and facing a permanent loss of profit margin.
- Now is not the time to lose sight of what makes you great, and being clear and compelling about your point of difference is more important than ever. Revisit, and if necessary revitalise, your brand positioning to make it more relevant. The best marketing in recessionary times is based around a strong value proposition that positions your brand or experience as the smart choice for target buyers in your category.