What brands swim against the tide in hard economic times?

There was always the glib observation that in hard economic times, brewers do well.  I suppose there are two perspectives to take: firstly, the pragmatic economic view. I heard a retailer saying that brands that connect primarily with teenagers are still prospering – because credit hardly effects that group. Another sector could be that section of the grey market who have paid off the mortgages, cleared their debts and already taken their pensions.  So long as inflation does not run away, brands operating in these sectors can develop strategies to at least survive and maybe even prosper.

Beyond the pragmatic is the psychological view – what values do we look for in times of anxiety? Do we focus on value brands to reassure ourselves we are being economical, or go for comfort brands? Will we be looking for longevity, or making short term decisions to batten down the hatches while the storm passes?

I might suggest that brands consider Freud’s pain/pleasure principle here – that we work far harder to avoid pain than we do in the pursuit of pleasure.  So, brands that promise protection from pain should be more desirable than those that offer us comfort and pleasure – maybe with the possible exception of brewers!

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