It’s official south of the boarder, and likely to touch down in Canada at some point in the future. The “R-word” has landed. In recessions our purchase habits go astray. In an economy build on buying stuff, that can cause havoc. Especially an economy where many purchases straddle the line between unnecessary and totally unnecessary. The trick for marketers is to acknowledge where consumers might be at, while not sending them into panic. The best recession campaigns won’t mention the economy. They’ll entertain, humour, empower and make people feel normal, while reserving an undercurrent that things aren’t exactly normal.
However, three shining star categories emerge in such times: SIN, STAPLES and SMALL PLEASURES.
SIN: Alcohol, chocolate, lottery tickets, tobacco (for the few who still partake) and other items that you could cut out, but won’t sacrifice easily.
STAPLES: Food, basic household cleaning and personal care items, shelter and basic transportation.
SMALL PLEASURES: All the stuff that makes you feel decadent while not breaking the bank. Think $1 loonie lattes (do they exist? they should!), $20 family movie nights, pedicures, clothing accessories (rather than buy the whole new outfit), haircuts, keeping in touch with family and friends etc.
SIN and STAPLES are pretty recession proof. SMALL PLEASURES will be the secret to marketing in a tougher economy for many.
One company well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity is Aeroplan. Having recently undergone a rebranding exercise after having become a public company, not linked to Air Canada, their new tag line is now simply “Rewarding life.” http://www.aeroplan.com/home.do With 4 million members, 93% of which are in Canada, and 22% penetration of Canadian households, their rewards based loyalty program is all about adding SMALL PLEASURES to life. They have gone well beyond air travel and accommodation as rewards, to offer everyday items such as TV’s, iPods, entertainment tickets, cameras, bikes, appliances and a whole lot more. But here’s where it gets interesting. They are tying the earning of SMALL PLEASURES into the purchase of STAPLES. An agreement with Sobey’s groceries has put this in place. http://corp.aeroplan.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=328117
Buy a necessary item such as food, get small pleasures for free. It’s a brilliant move in recessionary times. The whole notion of travel and material goods as rewards offers “Escapism” and “Value in life’s precious moments” while being delivered through SMALL PLEASURES.
Might there be a small pleasure angle to your business? Give it some thought or better yet, email me and tell me your story of how you’re positioning yourself for this trend. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org