This fall, a monster called “economic crisis” has a kind of anniversary: a year ago, it became a worldwide reality. Starting with invasion of financial system, it gradually penetrated into all spheres of life, or otherwise modifying them and creating a lot of new lifestyle trends. Crisis has passed through several stages in its development: from a common source of panic to the subject of jokes and games, turned finally into quite successful affordable fashion brand: how to overcome crisis, which is used by manufacturers to maintain product demand and attract attention of consumers.
By monitoring changes in marketing policy of companies in connection with economic instability during a year, Femlive decided to take stock of changes that have caused a crisis.
Affordable fashion: Saver mode
Restrictions on lending, the overall decline in income became a shock therapy for consumer society and created a new global trend of “reasonable cost“. There was a revaluation of values, and it turned out that many things that seemed vital due to advertising, are not such in reality. It turned out that last year’s model of mobile phone or other devices, a good working one, should not necessarily be changed for a fashionable new one. A trend of moderate consumerism replaced shopping mania, cultivated by producers. Print media, Internet portals offer lots of advices on how to survive the crisis.
For example, a number of European and American sites, illustrating the nuances of a reasonable consumption (creditcrunchblog.co.uk, consciousconsuming.org, thedownshifter.co.uk and others) are offering to sell your old mobile phone, buy goods, including products and drugs through the Internet, stay home rather than traveling on the weekend (they even found a single word: staycation for this pastime), try to cook cakes and other recommendations from “frugal housewife” section.
Accordingly, the philosophy of Downshifting previously considered an eccentricity, and today seen as a great opportunity to ride out the crisis received a new round of popularity. First declared itself in 1994, an ideology of conscious material values rejection has found particular support in the U.S., Britain and Australia. And today, according to opinion polls, about 20-25% of conscious consumers from total number of consumers joined Downshifting.
Affordable fashion. Anti-crisis offer
Changes in habits and lifestyles of the majority of buyers made old marketing schemes non-working, that forced companies seeking new tools to influence target audience. Reduction of prices on some goods, which is proudly called “Business Lunch” became a common and fairly predictable way to demonstrate their concern for customers. Probably, it is difficult to find a manufacturer who is not tempted to use this very unoriginal move.
Thus, companies did not work at a loss, offering expensive goods at low prices. Looking to an anti-crisis proposal carefully, you will notice that its dressing hides sales of old models (many sellers of home and computer equipment did so), production of food products in a cheaper package or in a smaller package. Even the U.S. network of McDonald’s used form factor “mini” (menu for $ 1), although studies show that fast-foods should be afraid of crisis: they are ones of the few on the market who can boast of a stable profit growth. Thus, the popularity rating of 500 brands TOR Superbrands for 2009 included: McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza.
Quite often, promising enormous and, naturally, crisis discounts, companies chose not to disclose the whole truth. So, offering a flight from New Jersey to Ohio only for $ 9 in May of this year, the company Jet America Airlines did not emphasize that the proposal applies only to nine seats in each plane. And in order to recoup costs, it was decided to levy an additional $ 20 from each ticket for the journey there and back.
Subject of crisis has become so popular that advertisers mercilessly exploited it, even in cases where the product or service does not have any relation to the crisis. Experience has shown that everything can become anti-crisis: from chocolate in a simple cellophane packaging and finishing with removable stickers for wallpapers, which were filed as a budget option to repair flat.
Having lost its original entirely sad meaning, crisis has become an affordable fashion instrument of impact on consumers’ minds.
Accumulating a lot of different meanings and values, the crisis has gradually become a brand, which is actively bought and sold. It is clear that selling it cannot last indefinitely. Overdoing with it, you can not only reduce the effectiveness of advertising, but also cause a negative attitude to the product. For long-term success one requires a more sophisticated and thoughtful strategy.
Affordable fashion. Convergence in people
As written, the crisis most severely affected companies that offer products and services to mid-price segment. While the position of cheap brands and luxury brands have not changed.
This was done through creation of goods around the legend, an aura of exclusivity, although its quality could be in no way different from its cheaper analogue. Now, this strategy does not work. Inexpensive and nice clothes became fashionable, and exclusive for unreasonably high prices proves to be unnecessary. That is why many brands that have previously fought for wealthy clients, now moved on to capture a niche of cheap products. Hoping to improve business, designers and fashion-houses rushed into the arms of mass retailers, significantly lowering the prices of their collections (D & G, Roberto Cavalli, Burberry and others).
We cannot say how successful such brand’s democratization will be (many analysts predict that it will be disastrous for companies’ reputation). But ordinary mortals have benefited from this, receiving an opportunity to buy Jimmy Choo shoes for $ 50, instead of $ 400.
To survive the crisis, the middle segment companies decided to provide services to a limited extent and, consequently, at lower prices. So, enticing tourists, resort hotels, instead of usual seven-day program, began offering vacation for a few days. Another way to become closer to people - launching own online stores, which acquired a reputation of ideal place for shopping during crisis. Moreover, this method of increasing sales was used not only by mobile operators, carmakers, grocery supermarkets, but also fashion-industry which seems apparently incompatible with web businesses.
Selling outfits that recently were only available in several retail outlets in Milan, Paris, London, via the World Wide Web, fashion designers hoped thereby to save on boutiques maintenance and simultaneously expand their target audience.
Affordable fashion. Designers joke
The collapse of stock market, bankruptcies of large companies, unemployment - all this bad stuff does not preclude humor, which simply is off scale in the most difficult periods. Jokes and fun to the very hot topic replenished pantries of folklore all over the world and became one of the ways to resist evil monsters. And it is natural, because laughter makes the worst things not so scary, transferring them to a lightly comic plane.
A Brazilian designer Carlos Bornelli originally showed financial difficulties of companies, presenting the fate of brands after crisis in the form of parodies on their logos. So, a firm apple from Apple was chewed on all sides; Ferrari horse was lame in one leg; DowJones index became DownJones etc.
Fate of dollar, as global currency, became one of the hottest topics to discuss, and designers have been quick to express their proposal for its resuscitating: it is necessary to re-brand dollar, beginning with its design, you know it was not changed since 1930! For Dollar ReDe $ ign Project with the slogan “Rebrand. Rebuild. Revive”, an American designer Richard Smith announced an unofficial competition to create a new design of dollar-denominated paper money on his blog. In his view, the appearance of dollar has already become obsolete and it looks terrible compared with the closest competitor - euro. Artists and graphic designers responded Smith: at the moment the portfolio of the competition has more than 50 works.
Even the most experienced financial analyst will not give an exact answer to the question of when the crisis comes to an end. But you can be sure of one thing: the loss of “crisis” theme relevance will be the first signal of general economic recovery: it will simply cease being fashionable.