"Snap, Crackle, Pop!"
Why Your Business Should Step Outside It's Comfort Zone & Thrive
It's here whether you like it or not. The Recession is upon us, and what are you doing to weather the storm? What can we learn from the past? History gives us the opportunity to learn from past mistakes. It helps us understand the many reasons why businesses may behave the way they do. As a result, it helps us as business owners become more impartial as decision-makers, and look to excel in tough times and not sit on the sidelines...
Case In Point: The Great Depression is one of the most catastrophic economic shocks the United States has ever seen, a calamity that saw unemployment climb to 25% alongside a massive GDP drop.
For many companies, the Great Depression meant instituting across-the-board cuts to lower their overhead. But one company in particular succeeded by taking the opposite approach: Kellogg’s.
Mirroring the Keynesian economic policies that would later be implemented by the Roosevelt administration, the cereal company doubled its advertising budget and re-invested in its workers shortly after the market crashed in late 1929. By 1933, Kellogg had increased its profits by 30% and distinguished itself as the country’s leading breakfast company.
Kellogg’s succeeded by going heavy into radio advertising, launching ads that featured its now-famous “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” slogan in 1932. The campaign helped catapult Rice Krispies into a breakfast staple, a position it holds to this day.
The company also innovated in its workforce. In order to create more jobs, the cereal manufacturer shifted to a 6-hour work day, giving workers a 12.5% raise in hourly wages while reducing working hours by 25%. Eighty-five percent of workers liked the 30-hour weekly schedule better, and worker productivity reached 40-hour levels within two years.
According to the Kellogg’s website, some of the newly created jobs went to workers who built a 10-acre park on the grounds of the company’s manufacturing plant in Battle Creek, Michigan. The company’s founder also created the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which spent its early years working to improve public health in the Battle Creek area and building schools and outdoor camps in rural Michigan.
On the advertising front, Kellogg’s crisis strategy was successful because, at a time when other companies were making cuts, its increased advertising spend allowed its cereal brands to gain a greater share of consumer attention.
Meanwhile, the company’s decision to invest in its workforce and surrounding community developed a loyal, productive workforce that powered its success. These investments had the added benefit of good publicity, with founder W.K. Kellogg earning an invite to the White House to discuss the 6-hour workday with president Herbert Hoover.
Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
Smart small business owners who have been through economic cycles before know that a downturn won’t last forever. Focus on being strategic with all aspect of marketing and promotion, and make sure you have a plan to weather this current downturn.
Here are the best strategies to survive AND thrive during this recession:
Get off the couch and join a local networking group. I recommend looking into a local BNI chapter. BNI chapters offer exclusivity for only one of each business allowed in each group, so that means yourf businesses can lock out your competition and develop business referral spheres to garner new leads and referrals (i.e realtor, mortgage agent, home inspector, homebuilder) As one BNI member told me recently... "To be in a local business referral group, where everyone knows and respects one another, during this downturn we will look to our business friends in this tight-knit group to continue to grow their businesses."
When it comes to marketing. Look to a hyper-local, targeted niche group of people that you can market to on a monthly basis, establishing yourself in this community and building your brand for the long-term. I call that embracing the "60/40" split
Be honest with your marketing dollars, and determine what you can comfortably spend each month towards marketing. Typically, 5-10% of your monthly gross revenue is the "norm." So, for example, if you gross $10,000 this month, then set aside from $500-1000 for next month's marketing expense. At Midwest Faith Media, we can strategically place a business in a strategic community of readers for as low as .06 per household and garner a 98% open rate, 94% read from cover to cover, and 91% of our readers will eventually utilize the services of our sponsors*
*In a multi state survey with 265 adults surveyed the data shows 98% of people would open the local St. Louis magazine if they got it in the mail, 94% of people would read the magazine and 91% of people would consider using the businesses if they were in need of the services.
For over 25 years, Chris Heeb has served the St. Louis area as a local business owner who deeply cares about the community, promoting locally the businesses that supporthis mission, and his Catholic faith.
As owner of Midwest Faith Media LLC and the publisher of Clayton Parish Neighbors and Kirkwood/Webster/Des Peres Parish Neighbors, he is devoted with a joyful spirit to inspire more families to rediscover their faith and toshare their journey with friends and others in their neighborhoods.
Aside from his publishing duties, he is involvedin various activities at Little Flower Catholic Church, enjoys time with his wife and children,and loves to cook for family and friends.