Thinking about economic uncertainty can make anyone nervous. You still remember the global financial crisis of 2008 and the dwindling oil prices increase your uneasiness, whether you’re a consumer, a business owner or a brand.
In reaction to this uncertainty, you spend less as a consumer or look for cheaper alternatives. While running a company or brand, you try to cut costs – hiring freezes and slashed advertising budgets being the most common – and operate more efficiently. All understandable.
However, the market isn’t growing and neither is consumer spending. You can’t risk advertising aggressively. There’s only so many discounts you can offer. How do you win? How do you survive in the long run?
While there are no guarantees, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. This is where you start investing in the future – the world of digital. Step up and take advantage of the abundant opportunities that the digital era provides for your brands.
Think about it. If your brand isn’t active online, how will consumers discover what you have to offer? Only by interacting online and sharing your story can you then create long-lasting relationships with your consumer.
Moreover, digital mediums provide low-cost alternatives to traditional advertising channels, as well as giving measureable results. A brand can thus create responses and campaigns even when the budget is low; and track them in real time to adjust accordingly- if needed.
Another equally important aspect of going digital is that it allows you to take your business to new(er) markets, places that might otherwise have been inaccessible. Such investment, when done right, goes a long way in ensuring survival as well as growth.
Let’s consider the case of Nordstrom, a well-known department store chain in the United States. They were one of the early adopters of an online strategy. During the economic crisis of 2008, while their store sales dipped, their online sales continued to grow.
This was the green signal they needed to start investing heavily into e-commerce. That is, they invested in the “future”. This included integrating online and offline inventory in stores and warehouses that established them as an Omni-channel leader.
Further, they also acquired HauteLook, a flash sales site, in order to increase their sales during the recessionary period, when consumers are generally careful about spending. By buying a platform already set up for flash sales, Nordstrom managed to minimize their risk even more.
The strategy paid off well. By 2012, their double-digit growth in online business and their stock value hitting new heights was a clear indication that they were on the right track. They emerged from the economically unstable times stronger than before and better than most of their competitors – an inspiring success story that we can all learn from.
While Nordstrom was an established brand that used an online strategy and technology to their advantage, launching and establishing a new brand digitally works as well.
TheBeautyFloor.com was an idea conceived during an elevator ride in 2013 in the UAE. By mid-2015, Pink Entropy had launched both desktop and mobile platforms, and started extensive digital campaigns for the brand.
The idea of The Beauty Floor is tied to the concept of a stage or floor. It is a place where you can find anything and everything about beauty and about being beautiful. The aim of this premium online retailer is to make shopping for the best personal care products a breeze.
Once the brand was live, we started experimenting with different kinds of online advertising, as well as social networks, in order to test the performance of channels versus the chosen objective. Side by side, we publish great original lifestyle content that resonates with our beauty shoppers that helps us grow our audience organically.
Each campaign was monitored and analyzed; and then optimized, banking on the best performing elements, both from a targeting and a creative perspective.
The results we saw from our campaigns were phenomenal and include a 20% increase in monthly sales, and an astounding 780% growth in revenue within six months, with almost half coming from new customers.
In other words, smart digital investment can help any brand or business grow, and sustain that growth as well. Brands in the UAE should consider harnessing the power of a digital strategy. However, some things to keep in mind before venturing into this arena are:
Know what you’re getting into – familiarize yourself with digital media and strategy. Learn about it. Talk to people. Read up. Take an online class, if you have the time.
Trust the people you’re working with – whether you develop an in-house team or hire an agency, make sure you trust the people you’re working with to deliver the results you want. Do your research when hiring anyone.
Set goals – be target-oriented and clear on what you wish to achieve from your digital campaigns. Make sure they are aligned with your organization’s overall goals as well. Communicate them clearly to your team and develop a strategy accordingly.
Be sure and monitor everything – numbers don’t lie. Hence, monitor the results of your campaigns and strategies. Tweak if and when needed to achieve your desired results.
Apparently good things come in small packages and Kristine certainly proves this to be true. She has more than 10 years of experience in integrated marketing, building and managing global brands, and has worked across a broad spectrum of sectors – including automotive, FMCG, hospitality, healthcare and everything in between spanning MENA and Europe. She is also a veritable foodie, fitness enthusiast and a sought after author (not only for her recipes!) and voice for the digital and performance marketing verticals in the region.
If you like what you’ve seen here and believe we can be of help building your business, drop us a line. We’d be more than happy to listen to your ambitions and take you through how we can be of help. We like doing cool, awesome things together with our clients. And you’re welcome to join the happy troops!