More than 60% of global companies remain committed to investing in their brand despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new IPA/Financial Times study, the Board-Brand Rift 2020. Capturing the opinions of nearly 600 global C-suite and marketing decision makers, the research examines how the worldwide pandemic has changed brand perception and management inside businesses.
Whilst commitment to brand building is seen across the board, some sectors were more likely to be maintaining spend through the current downturn. IT and technical services sectors are the most likely to maintain their marketing spend (41%), followed by manufacturing / engineering / industrial (34%) and professional services (34%), with marketers saying they have learnt the importance of brand building through previous downturns.
Says David Buttle, global marketing director, commercial, Financial Times: "At the FT we show commercial partners year after year the benefits of long-term brand investment. With our recent ‘Crises Make Reputations’ campaign we put our money where our mouth is, and it is clear from this year’s Board-Brand Rift that those brand perceptions are quickly moving online, even for more traditional ‘offline’ businesses."
It is encouraging to see that an overwhelming majority of decision makers see marketing investment as key to long-term sustainable growth, even in a hugely challenging business environment, an uncertain macroeconomic outlook and rapidly changing customer habits.
Says Janet Hull OBE, Founder of EffWorks Global and Director of Marketing Strategy, IPA: "Despite the tough environment, the overall takeout from these findings can be seen as positive. To recover, we need upbeat sentiment which we see in terms of company attitudes, together with investment to underpin this, which we see in terms of a return to marketing expenditure in some significant sectors. What is also interesting from these findings is the growing importance of online activity, alongside companies placing value on emotional messaging to acquire new customers. This chimes well with additional research from Orlando Wood coming out tomorrow at EffWorks 2020, which reveals the trick to building your brand online. Let’s hope company boards and marketers play close attention in order to build their business’s long-term resilience and success."