Brand owners and executives at The Times panel debate on the UK economy have called for more creative business and marketing strategies that can help consumers stretch their limited budgets and lead the national economy on the way to recovery.
Mike Lynch, CEO of technology firm Autonomy, said that advertisers have to change their plans and views in line with the changing economic situation. Marketers need to be extremely creative to ensure they can engage consumers, he added. As consumers change the way they spend time and money, businesses need to capitalise on every minute of consumer attention being paid to the brand. However, many businesses fail to adapt to the new circumstances, Lynch also noted.
Meanwhile, Allan Leighton, former CEO of Wal-Mart Europe, urged the government to reduce VAT as a step to an instant consumer relief and growing confidence. In his opinion, consumers will be the key factor for the recovery of the UK economy. Although raising the VAT at the beginning of this year may have brought GBP12bn to the government, it cost GBP100bn in retail, Leighton claimed.
This does have to be managed with expectation. Creativity will provide traction for marketing campaigns, but ultimately the visibility will deem if it is successful. Media is still the lynch pin that ties affordability with strength of profile. Equally, brands with much higher exposure can expect a proportionately higher yield on their business, but for most it is still about equating ROI over the short term, which is much more difficult to do across many media channels in the current climate.