Brand building tips for tough economic times

Moving Brands®
4 min readJan 10, 2023


Marissa Louie, US Head of Business Development

Since 1998, Moving Brands has worked with over 250 companies across 35 industries. Over the years, we’ve travelled with clients through both positive and not-so-positive economic landscapes. We’ve helped navigate the dot-com boom, ride out the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 and, most recently, adapt to the ‘new normal’ as a result of the pandemic.

Along the way, we’ve learned how to be natural allies in fast-changing and uncertain times. With choppy financial waters ahead, Marissa Louie, our Head of US Business Development and US Engagement Officer, shares her five top tips for building your brand in tough economic times.

1. Ensure your foundations are strong

By spending money on creative foundations upfront, you can reduce costs in the long run.

When the foundations are solid, everything flows smoothly from there. When they aren’t intentional, planned, and purposeful, the strategy and creative direction run the risk of going off course, with creative teams spending many extra cycles cleaning up design debt or creating solutions that don’t land with your target audiences.

Investing now helps startups extend their funding runways, and other organisations continue to operate efficiently without cannibalising their future growth.

Building strong foundations is key to saving costs in the long term — Photo by Sen on Unsplash

2. Invest in digital

With people spending much of their time online, creating a compelling digital presence and experience is crucial to reach existing and potential customers. Invest in UX/UI, search engine optimisation (SEO), and online marketing to increase brand awareness, differentiate yourself from competitors and establish a strong brand identity and brand equity.

UX is key because it helps create a positive user experience which, in turn, drives customer satisfaction, loyalty, and higher conversion rates. By designing user-friendly interfaces, businesses can also cut customer support costs, improve efficiency and save money down the road.

Invest in digital — Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

3. Work for people, purpose, and the planet

Thinking forwards and considering how you can play your part in shaping a better tomorrow is not only the right thing to do, but if you do it authentically and consistently, it will resonate emotionally with customers.

With economic issues inexorably tied to social ills and environmental concerns, putting people and the planet at the heart of your strategy — in a genuine way — will help ensure long-term brand loyalty and trust not just during a recession but through the good times too. It also helps unite your team behind a shared purpose team when times are hard.

People, purpose, and planet — Photo by Margot RICHARD on Unsplash

4. Adapt to the changing market

Take steps to understand your customers’ changing needs and adjust your products and services accordingly. Where possible, and always without losing sight of your brand vision and purpose, consider diversifying your revenue streams — look to generate income in new ways which complement and enhance your overall brand strategy and story.

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome — Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

5. Keep a close eye on the competition

This is a must at any time, but when times are hard and markets squeezed, it’s more important than ever to track your competitors. Maximise any opportunities to set your brand apart by showcasing the quality and unique features of your product or service.

Keep an eye on the competition — Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are the usual considerations that any brand has to consider; in a recession, customer service becomes more crucial than ever, as does the effective use of social media to connect with audiences — with careful consideration over the tone of any messaging especially important. Additionally, brands will typically want to focus on the value of their products and may want to invest in new technologies and processes to streamline operations.

The most important thing is to be as prepared as possible and not to give up hope. In our experience, many brands have not only navigated these choppy waters before but found them an opportunity to grow and thrive. We can all learn from stories of their success and the strategies and tactics that got them there.



Moving Brands®

We are an independent, global creative and innovation partner to 6 of the world’s 10 most valued brands. London/Zürich/SF/NY/LA