JWT’s AnxietyIndex is designed as a place to discuss how brands and consumers are responding to the global recession. With daily content updates, AnxietyIndex.com includes contributions from around JWT’s network, offering a truly global perspective.
Avon’s “Hello tomorrow” brand mantra, in the words of CEO Andrea Jung, “expresses our commitment to making tomorrow a better day for women around the world.” To that end, the global cosmetics company has been contributing to a Hello Tomorrow Fund for the past two years, rewarding people who lead projects that empower women in their communities.
Now Avon is using the recession to help support that brand equity. Its focus on recruiting sales representatives in markets around the world, especially in China, reinforces its brand as a haven for women seeking ways to support themselves, especially during times of high unemployment.
In the Czech Republic, for example, Avon’s recruitment campaign, which ran on TV and in print (via sponsored articles in women’s magazines), focused on the life stories of successful Avon ladies. Five of these ladies are currently featured on Avon’s recruitment Web site. The campaign garnered about 1,000 applicants. In the U.S., Avon ran a recruitment spot during the 2009 Super Bowl and continues to advertise on job site Monster.com.
Czech consumer confidence has fallen as unemployment has risen, prompting a new Web site from the largest telecommunications operator in Central Europe, Telefonica O2. ChcidoO2.cz is a recruitment site touting the company as a place to build a career and targeting those afraid to lose their job as well as students and graduates. Eighty positions, primarily in sales and marketing, are open. It’s a good example of how big companies can benefit from the anxious environment at a minimum investment.
There has been great concern about the ability of charities to raise money in the current economic climate. In the Czech Republic, the Leontinka Foundation, which supports the social integration of blind children, has taken a provocative approach to raising awareness on the back of the recession. “Are you fed up with reading all the articles about the crisis?” asks their ad in a leading economic journal. “There are kids that would pay any price if they could read just one of them.”
Not many brands are so open and brave in using the current economic circumstances to help make a point. And the point here—that there are longer-lasting and even more serious issues in life than the financial crisis—is communicated in the most direct and clear way possible.
And while most marketers are addressing the recession by emphasizing attractive discounts, smart nonprofits are turning the disadvantage of today’s climate to their advantage, investing in brand value.