Marketing in times of multi-crises: 3 questions to a professor of brand management

Marketing in times of multi-crises: 3 questions to a professor of brand management

We asked Professor Dr Carsten Baumgarth, a proven marketing expert specialising in brand management at the HWR Berlin, about marketing strategies in times of multi-crises.

When brands find themselves in times of crisis, they are quick to cut back on marketing, but is that actually sensible in your opinion?

Budget cuts in times of crisis in marketing are “normal” and are already taking place. However, research on past crises shows that this is exactly the wrong approach. Brands that invest more than the competition in marketing in times of crisis gain market share and this newly gained market share remains stable even after the crisis.

How do you and the research assess the “shrinkflation” of brands?

Shrinkflation, i.e. the hidden price increase by keeping prices constant while reducing the package content, is less harmful than price increases in the short term, but dangerous for the brand in the long term. This is especially true for “intensive users” of the brand, who are much more likely to notice such “tricks”. Price increases with an appropriate and comprehensible explanation are more ethical, transparent and better for the brand in the long run. But brands do not only have to stand their ground in external polycrises, they also cause crises out of themselves (lapses, service and product failures). So far, there are many individual results, but no integrative brand crisis theory yet.

What would you recommend to brands with a view to the future?

There are different approaches to recommend here. This can concern communication, the supposedly banal presentation of products on the shelf or making products accessible via platforms.

  • Brands that can create a feeling of grounding and closeness with consumers through product design, communication, shop design etc. achieve a significantly higher preference and willingness to pay.
    Brands that offer their products in retail – especially in supermarkets – must be aware that the well-known eye level of products on the shelf is not the buy level. The optimal height is about 30 to 40 cm below eye level.
  • Platforms are becoming increasingly important, but brands can not only cooperate with retail platforms such as Amazon or Check24, but also build their own brand platforms. Brand manufacturers can design their own platform from the modules transaction, orientation, community, inspiration and benchmarking.