Ailing Economy Effect on Branding

Published on August 4, 2009

Brand Experts Suggest Finding More Cost Efficient Marketing Methods During Economic Downturn

Companies can focus on providing value-added services to customers during an economic downturn, Koch says.

Companies can focus on providing value-added services to customers during an economic downturn, Koch says.

To see a video promo for this event, click here.

In the midst of an economic downturn, challenges such as mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations and technology changes can significantly impact the way a brand is communicated.

But it’s precisely these situations when communications supporting the brand are most helpful. Two brand experts will share some of the best ways to strengthen, support and add continuity to a brand in uncertain times at a University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business event Aug. 12. The Executive MBA event, “Marketing and Brand Management in a Down Economy,” is from 6 to 8 p. m. in Room 365 at Melcher Hall.

Speakers include UH Bauer Executive Professor Steven Koch, who spent more than two decades in senior management marketing positions at Pennzoil-Quaker State, Sega and Coca-Cola Foods, and Janet Gurwitch, CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics and Skincare and a longtime senior executive with Neiman-Marcus.

“We have added complexities to this particular downturn,” Koch said. “Large corporations like AIG, Bank of America and General Motors which have experienced severe damage to their equity will require Extreme Brand Management.”

“Unfortunately, marketing is one of the first things to be cut, in my experience disproportionally cut, right after the breakfast pastries,” he added. “The downturn in the economy has created downward pressure on corporate budgets.”

The panel discussion will also feature tips from Janet Gurwitch, CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics and Skincare and a longtime senior executive with Neiman-Marcus.

The panel discussion will also feature tips from Janet Gurwitch, CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics and Skincare and a longtime senior executive with Neiman-Marcus.

At the EMBA session, Koch and Gurwitch will address some of the tactics that will allow businesses to surmount these challenges, emerging from the downturn a stronger company.

“I suspect we’ll get questions from marketing managers or brand managers who want to know what they ought to do right now to protect their budgets,” Koch said. “There are some things they can be doing now, and hopefully, we can talk about building on things they’ve done in the last several years in preparation for a possible economic downturn.”

Although cutting marketing from a budget may seem like an easy solution to reduce costs, companies should be trying to find more efficient ways to protect their brands, he added.

“You can’t forget about the customer,” Koch said. “They may not be buying right now, but they could be looking for consultative help or other value-added services instead. You have to continue that relationship with the customer, which will put you in a better place coming out of the downturn.”

Tickets to the panel discussion are $20 and can be obtained online at https://www.bauer.uh.edu/gppregistration/. For more information, contact Michelle Poullard, mpoullard@uh.edu or 713-743-4631.

By Julie Bonnin