In a recession, as consumers grow more thrifty, it seems reasonable for brands to ramp up price-led messages and to emphasize the value of the product. But while this may help in the short-term, a knee-jerk reaction to the environment can prove detrimental to the brand’s long-term value, especially if it doesn’t link up to what a brand represents or the bigger brand idea. This type of schizophrenic behavior dilutes core brand equity.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently learned this lesson, as detailed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Last year, Vegas marketers emphasized affordability, describing the city as a place for hard-working people to rest and relax. The campaign showed blue-collar Americans enjoying activities like indoor skydiving.
Yet the marketers’ research showed that even during a downturn (perhaps especially during a downturn) people still liked the idea of Las Vegas as a place to indulge. So the old “What Happens Here Stays Here” theme has been revived, with a $7.8 million campaign that puts a humorous spin on the recession.