How to Survive a Recession using the Power of Branding

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A recession may feel like an impending storm threatening to uproot your eCommerce business at any time – once your vault of savings or stash of cash runs out. Fear not though, for you can learn from the story of the oak tree and reeds.

In a storm with strong winds, a mighty oak tree gets uprooted and breaks due to its trunk’s inflexibility. But a humble reed stays rooted as it bends and sways according to the gusts of wind.

eCommerce businesses like yours, which risk little to lose can follow the example of a reed and be flexible in a recession. By adjusting your branding strategy, your business can pivot to offer customers what they want, even in a recession.

Here are 5 tips on how your business can survive a recession using the power of branding:

1. Be flexible in your brand messaging

Imagine that you are a fashion reseller. Perhaps your unique selling proposition (USP) all this time has focused on style, lookbooks, and accessories to complete the look. Come a recession however, you want to depart from superficial or skin-deep looks that are disposable. Pan your focus instead to a capsule wardrobe with essential basics such as beige pants and plain white tees with a formal-looking collar.

Keep in mind that everyone is experiencing both the effects of rising prices due to inflation and rising temperatures due to global warming. Create awareness on the material being used in the clothing that you sell, its durability, and its sustainability. These factors contribute both to the lifecycle of a clothing item in your customer’s wardrobe along with the environmental impact.

2. Create engaging video content

In an age where time moves swiftly, more platforms and brands are jumping on TikTok’s super brief video concept to capture new audiences. Be it videos showing buyers how to use beauty products in eCommerce stores, YouTube shorts, or IG reels, engaging bite-sized videos are all the rage.

Keep yourself updated on trends and what people are looking for to increase your video visibility and attractiveness. For example, the Wes Anderson film trend to capture travelogs are light-hearted and instantly recognizable. The air of familiarity makes netizens want to watch further.

Bonus tips: Get the latest TikTok trends every other week on
New to making videos? Take baby steps and get started with this step-by-step guideline.

3. Livestream with exclusive discounts and giveaways

Livestreams are a reliable way to gain new customers or offer more value in terms of product education for existing ones. A recent 2023 study found that nearly 5 in 10 consumers in Southeast Asia tune in to livestream sales with 65% of them making a purchase!

Be mindful of these when hosting a livestream event:

  • Using a specialized eCommerce livestream feature such as LazLive that allows customers to purchase your shop’s products without exiting the livestream window.
  • Try to feature an influencer guest. Instagram is great for first-timers as it alerts followers whenever someone goes live.
  • Include exclusive discounts and giveaways throughout a livestream to enchant your audience and keep them watching. Your audience is also likely to tag their friends if your giveaway items are desirable. Analyze the needs and wants of your audience when selecting giveaway items.

4. Host corporate team building events

Designing creative team building events for corporations looking can be a great way to network and gain social media exposure. This is especially relevant if you make your own products to sell: e.g. scented candles, lip balms, artwork, pots, knitwear, clothing, and carpentry.

These benefits can be reaped from hosting team building events:

  • Elevates your brand status to a processional one recognized at a corporate level.
  • Allows you to gain free social media exposure. Just tap your IG or FB open to see plenty of unintentional free marketing as friends share the places they dined in and tag brands in their evening wear.
  • Carves a meaningful memory in the minds of the team building participants, creating possible new customers as they learn about the in-and-outs of your products.

5. Be transparent in your brand storytelling

Always aim to stay grounded and relate to your community on a personal basis. This does not mean chatting directly with them but posting true, relatable, and transparent stories about your roots.

Perhaps you may want to touch on the struggles your brand faced and even your doubts in facing the recession. Don’t forget to reassure your audience that you will remain resilient and emerge strong to continue delivering the value that your loyal customers love.

Some ideas in portraying an open and honest brand:

  • Tell people about how your brand came about to be such as the story of these two young budding entrepreneur sisters with a rich family tradition.
  • Highlight the social causes that you are a part of. Colourette, a LazMall Philippines store with over 290K followers sells cruelty free products and is part of PETA’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies Program.

To cover the basics of branding, you may want to check out this nifty guideline of brilliant low-cost strategies to differentiate you from other brands.

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