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  • Writer's pictureWim Vermeulen

Do good now to do well in the COVID-19 recession

This COVID-19 crisis is different in several respects from previous crises. One of the differences is that consumers are actively asking companies to intervene. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as it is part of a much larger trend and has to do with the Social License to Operate of companies and brands. Responding to it it helps maintain your mental availability which is important in a recession. Evidence shows that maintaining or increasing adspend in a down economy has significant payoffs (sales). In fact, research shows that this was the winning strategy in every downturn in the 20th and 21st century: the Great Depression of 1921, the oil crisis of 1973, the recession of 1980 and 1991 and the financial crisis of 2008.

Doing good is one way to respond. But that is not the only strategy. Research by Warc shows that maintaining your advertising campaigns is also a good strategy. Both strategies are approved by the consumer.

Either way, you need to act now but plan for later. If the recovery will be V, U or L shaped is unclear. HBR thinks a V-shaped is most likely and that it will take two quarters. No brand can stay silent for 6 months.

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