Financial crisis ‘is more stressful than Covid for CMOs’

angry laptopNearly three-quarters (74%) of marketing chiefs reckon the economic turbulence of the past six months has been more stressful than trying to work through the Covid pandemic, with many forced to ditch agencies and cut staff to cope.

So says a new study commissioned by brand management platform Frontify, which further exposes the repercussions of the financial crisis.

It reveals that nearly half (46%) of CMOs have resorted to reduced external agency support and a similar proportion (45%) have instigated departmental budget cuts, while 47% cite price hikes on products as an additional challenge.

However, marketers are standing by their investment commitments to their brands. In fact, 87% of CMOs have reported investing in brand building this year, with a further 88% stating that it is especially important to invest in brands during a recession.

As marketers focus on brand resilience, they are managing both long and short term mindsets for growth. CMOs believe brand distinctiveness (47%) is the most important to create brand resilience in challenging times, closely followed by having a strong performance team (41%), and strong links between customer insights and brand (40%).

Marketing leaders are also putting their money where their mouth is and reflecting the importance of brand in their organisational structure, with 83% of marketing leaders hiring a chief brand officer within the last two years.

Additionally, marketers are continuing to invest in rebrands and brand refreshes, with 5 in 10 saying they have done so within the past two years.

Most are happy with the results, as 79% of CMOs say their brand refresh has been successful. However, they do worry that brand refreshes create extra work for their team (41%) and lead to an increased risk of branding errors (40%).

With many marketing departments operating within an environment of budget cuts, CMOs are getting crystal clear on branding priorities and how they are using their branding investments.

Marketers say they are prioritising social media marketing as the most effective channel for brand building (26%), followed by direct marketing (18%).

Frontify CEO and founder Roger Dudler said: “In this time of uncertainty, one thing remains clear – brand leaders are under more pressure than ever to build brand resilience and maintain brand equity,  but this isn’t achieved overnight – it requires long term commitment and sustained effort.

“It’s critical to understand the key priorities that marketing leaders have as well as what drives the most results so that CMOs can gain confidence in spending their budgets effectively and win the marathon of brand resilience.

“CMOs have to be strategic about what resources they are using, and how to make the most of their investments.”

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