How do you strike a balance between consumer needs during times of economic uncertainty, and preserving long-term brand equity?

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VP of Marketing in IT Services, 10,001+ employees
Enterprises need to closely monitor the changing consumer behaviour in times of economic uncertainty. This can include change/shift in consumption or budding demands for some new needs. This will help brands to know how to change their brand messaging, pricing, or product bundling without impacting the core brand name and the value associated with it. For example, instead of deep price cuts to enhance demand, enhancing ancillary value such as post-purchase services, better financing/payment deals, bundling product with another product which customer value, free delivery, etc. can help in retaining customers without undercutting brand value. Sometimes, price cuts may be a necessity, but when done with right customer messaging, and right strategy that ensures customer retention (e.g., signing multi-year contract or credit for next purchase), it may yield great long term returns.
Additionally, while companies may have to undergo cuts in marketing investments, they must not over do it. While the competitors are cutting their marketing spend, it may be a good time to prudently invest in enhancing your brand name which will boost its value in the long-run. 
Director of Marketing in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Companies should balance consumer needs and retain long-term brand equity under economic instability by using scarce resources to support their audience and develop and/or extend current assets.

Consumers' primary approaches during times of uncertainty include a wait-and-see attitude, optimisation, and rationalisation, independent of the industries and categories in question.

Taking a deep dive into changing consumer requirements and putting oneself in their shoes during these difficult times can reveal prospects for new product development that can boost brand equity. In the end, this will boost total brand sales.

I hope this was helpful.

CMO in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I would like to think of it as an opportunity to get closer to the consumer - as these are trying times and the fact that during a time of need - we were with the customer - in terms of going the extra mile, making sacrifices to cite a few - will be valued by the consumer. Brand equity is the outcome of our actions, and demonstrating this will be noticed surely by our consumers and stakeholders.
CMO in Services (non-Government), 11 - 50 employees
This is a very good topic! During periods of economic uncertainty, reinforce your company's mission, vision and values and be as clear and honest as possible in communication with your business, employees and customers to build trust.

Make sure the pain points your products or services solves align as much as possible with your customers' needs. You can offer discounts and renegotiations, showing that you are committed to helping, but never let the quality of products or services drop.

Marketing is the best way to communicate all this clearly and directly to your customers, use it wisely and don't sacrifice marketing actions or budget because what may seem like savings now, in the future can bring losses to your business and affect your brand equity.

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