While some might be discouraged by the current recession, those businesses looking to increase their market share couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. Studies have shown that businesses who market their business more during slower economic times will benefit from gaining a larger share of the market. This can lead to steadier business during the recession as well as increased gains in post recession times. Don’t believe me, take a look at the Kellogg’s vs. Post Cereal Wars during the Great Depression.

kellogg_peacock_vs_post_ostrichBoth were competing for the attention of cereal consumers, and both had a choice to make on how to respond to the depression: Hold back and hold on until it was over, or launch a new product and advertise more. Post made the decision not to risk doing anything aggressive during the depression, while Kellogg’s moved forward with their plans to launch and advertise a new cereal: Rice Krispies. Probably one of the simplest cereals ever developed, yet it became responsible in part for Kellogg’s 30% increase in earnings during a time that was horrible for most companies. A short time later, 1933, Kellogg’s gave their marketing an even stronger boost by introducing Snap, Krackle and Pop as mascots for their new cereal. A hit that has continued to be a large part of Kellogg’s success even decades later.

Another company that has always stood out among its competition is Toyota. Moving Forward, Continuous Improvement, Toyota Quality Management are all terms that many of us are familiar with because of the excellence we’ve come to expect from Toyota. While GM and Ford are now trying to catch up to Toyota in the area of hybrids, there was once a time they were all on equal playing ground. Before the world came to know of the Prius, all of the auto makers were considering the option of hybrids. With the auto industry suffering slightly from lags in sales, only Toyota grabbed a hold of the vision and stepped forward. The Chevy Volt we’re beginning to hear about now, could have been in existence a decade ago and competed head to head with the Prius. GM may have more available hybrid models to choose from between all their lines of vehicles, but as Kleenex is to tissue, so is Toyota to hybrid.

Ask yourself: What is/should my company be known best for? What am I doing that my competition isn’t doing? How do I get my company in front of more potential customers? What are my goals for this next year? Am I going to react or respond to the recession? Customers don’t do it on purpose, but most would be sooner found in a business with a first-rate image and second-rate products than a second-rate image and first-rate products. You can’t just have the product customers need, you need to show off the product. You need to ‘peacock’ your business.

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