“The gangster move in a recession is not just to maintain the budget but actually increase ad spend.”

That’s according to Mark Ritson, an internationally renowned marketing academic.

Despite appearances, studies show that recession conditions are fertile grounds for business growth. As counter-intuitive as that seems, the stats don’t lie. Since Roland Vaile’s work at Harvard in 1927, marketing experts have traced the path between investment and success in recessionary economies. Put simply, the greater the funds that you can divert into marketing your business right now, the greater your chance of not only surviving but thriving through this challenging time.

While the world stalls in lockdown mode, most of your competitors will be cutting as many costs as possible. Research suggests the majority will look to shave 30-60% off their current marketing spend. Cuts to marketing mean a cut to the ‘noise’ in your marketplace, and that means an opportunity like no other for your voice to be heard.

Increase your market share by increasing your external comms at a time when you’re most likely to be heard, rather than waiting until everyone returns to the market.

Distract and divert from the narrative around you and place your brand at the centre of attention.

The concept of ESOV — excess share of voice — perfectly demonstrates the direct correlation between your company’s share of the communications in your market and your share of the available business.

In normal trading times, if you’re capturing 20% of the voice, you’re likely to enjoy a 20% share of the market. If you maintain – or even better, increase – your marketing spend while others drop out of the game for a time, your ESOV will increase exponentially and your market share will grow despite external conditions. And while your market as a whole may have dropped significantly, heading out of recession with an increased market share leaves you well placed to capitalise when normality returns.

We’re not talking about short-term gains but a long-term, dynamic, brand-building exercise and now is the very best chance you’ll get to implement it.

Diversion and subversion require the smartest guerilla moves in this viral age.

Companies that can change gears at speed and respond to market conditions with considered and clever marketing campaigns will be those that survive the toughest of market downturns. It’s definitely a time to be operating outside the square.

Shift around your assets, rethink your market image, your strategic marketing plan and your key messages. You may find that the values of your current demographic are adjusting quickly as the social implications of a worldwide pandemic hit home. If the winds of change in your market are blowing a gale at the moment, don’t just hunker down and try to ride out the storm. Innovate in every way that you can think of to respond to and reflect changing attitudes. Staying visible and relevant will pay dividends in the long-term.

A time like no other, requires actions like no other. Divert your energies towards making brave, extraordinary decisions and showing the world what you’re really made of. And do it fast, this window of opportunity won’t last.