Marketers should think twice before cutting media budgets during a recession. There is a range of evidence from past downturns that shows those companies that maintained their investment generated higher growth than those who reduced budgets and went dark. Brands should think about long-term brand building rather than promotions. Some suggest this requires focus on customer service and current customers. Others argue for broad reach, brand building activity rather than focusing on loyalty. Largely, consumables are seen as fairly recession proof as long as there is a noticeable difference in price and quality. Other categories have been seen to suffer more during downturns, however bringing in NPD and changing to new communication approaches can help deliver growth.


A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), global recessions tend to operate on a 10-year cycle. Businesses typically rein in advertising spend during slow-growth periods, or divert it into promotional work designed to stimulate short-term sales.

Key insights

1. Brands focused on customer service and satisfaction win – during and after a recession