Posted September 23, 2009 8:22 am by with 8 comments

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RecessionWe appear to be caught in a rut as of late. No one wants to make a definitive statement as to whether or not the recession / slow down / depression / aberration or whatever we call this thing is over or not. Depending on who you talk to we can either be on the edge of a recovery or the edge of a cliff. Is there a way to tell if this dark economic time is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel?

We at Marketing Pilgrim are not analysts and we don’t claim to be. What we can do, however, is tell you about reports that are out there that can provide some insight or at least help us think differently. As marketers we tend to land on the hopeful / optimistic side of news because we want people to buy our stuff, right? Well, if the folks at Millward Brown Optimor which is owned by WPP are right with their BrandZ Portfolio study then there may be indications that at least the strongest of the strong, brandwise, are showing signs of life.

The analysis shows the top 100 brands, which Millward Brown refers to as the BrandZ Portfolio and includes many technology companies like Apple, Vodafone, Microsoft, Nokia, BlackBerry, Intel and others, are recovering from the recession at a faster pace than the market. As the chart above shows, the most valuable global brands have been outperforming the S&P 500 for a number of years now but show a much faster recovery from the recession than the market in recent months.


As noted by Robin Wauters of TechCrunch it’s a relief of sorts to at least see both of the performance indicators showing movement in the positive direction.

So why would big brands show a quicker recovery than the S&P as a whole? Well, who really knows? While this data is interesting it may be a stretch to make this kind of comparison since the ranking of the Top Brands is something that needed to be ‘crafted’. Here is some of the criteria.

The ranking is calculated using a methodology called “Economic Use”, taking into account the role that brands play in purchase decisions and identifying what proportion of the business value can be attributed purely to the brand. Besides inputs from the BrandZ study, the ranking uses financial data from Bloomberg and market and product data from Datamonitor. The ranking takes into account regional variations since even for truly global brands measures of brand contribution might differ substantially across countries.

So we need your thoughts again Pilgrims. Putting aside a larger worldview for a minute what is happening in your neck of the woods? Are you seeing signs of recovery or signs of ‘more of the same’? While it’s interesting to look at studies like this what is really happening at the street level. I see some more activity but I think the activity is more around preparing to spend more at some point in the future rather than getting back into the game right now. What about you?

  • I suspect leading brands are a good leading indicator of economic upturn. Let us hope they keep trending up.

    • We have followed many trends in the current market down turn and have seen many smaller agency boutiques popping. They all seem to have one common denominator. That is they are growing their businesses while the larger, more top heavy agencies are cutting back and trimming the fat.

      One in particular is: Blue Sky Interactive Group of Scottsdale Arizona.

      Blue Sky has virtually no overhead. They contract with the same workers from the larger agencies that are either being laid off, or who simply wish to seek some extra income on the side. This is a win win since Blue Sky Interactive Group can pass on to it’s clients an extremely competitive price while maintaining the high quality, high touch level of service.

      The two founders of Blue Sky Interactive, Richard P. Srery and Brian Benene both come from large digital interactive agencies, and bring a wealth of knowledge to the party.

      Blue Sky Interactive Group’s core focus is on online sweepstakes, instant win games, micro sites and SEO/NSO. These guys are certainly on the cutting edge of what I believe to be the new way most digital agencies will be conducting business in order to maintain a competitive edge. Gone are the mega agencies like Razor Fish or and here to stay are the micro agencies like Blue Sky Interactive Group.

      Check them out here: Blue Sky Interactive Group

    • Nakamura

      So let’s sum it up. FED printed huge amount of currency and threw it into circulation. These dollars are not backed by anything, so that investors rush to get something of value for them. Commodities, stocks of not-yet-dead companies, anything. So demands for stocks and commodities is up and it LOOKS like a recovery – except that it is not.

      No signifficant boost of REAL production. The trade deficit with China is as huge as it was. Energy resources are more scarce and expensive every day, especially due to demand from India and China.

      It’s just another fraud – or to be specific, continuation of the same fraud that began when USA started living on debt.

  • The truth is that all those prophets of doom and gloom who only a year ago were prediciting the end of the capitalist system got it so wrong. We definitely have to learn the lessons and tighten regulations but nobody seriously contemplates a collapse of the system now. Great relief!
    .-= Oscar Del Santo´s last blog ..ORM and the Dark Side =-.

  • Traffic jams rising again, may be this is it.
    .-= Symbian´s last blog ..How to use Ovi store on Nokia phone =-.

  • This is more of a confidence issue. The small businesses I work with/for are not confident in what may or may not be coming down the pipeline. So they are all holding spending close to their vest. Now, on a positive note, I am seeing a ton of Netrepreneurs like myself who are sick of all the gloom and doom and “Debbie Downers” — so we are moving onward and upward, taking charge and making things happen regardless!
    .-= Judith´s last blog ..It’s More Than Having WordPress! =-.

  • Biz

    I think we are starting to see an upturn but my problem is that we are again just inflating profits that do not really exist and most of the jobs we lost manufacturing wise will not be coming back. A lot of the manufacturing jobs went overseas when things here got worse and it is hard to get a company to come back and pay employees $20 an hour when they are paying them $2 an hour with no taxes or regulations at their new location.
    .-= Biz´s last blog ..Instyler – Rotating Hair Iron Review =-.

  • DonAlons

    Smaller agencies and advertising media might do a lot better in the future.
    The INMA recently published an interesting article. Indirectly one could again hear it that newspaper
    publishers were telling their clients to spend at least 5% of their revenue on advertising.
    For a longer time that worked. But, logically, no longer. And it could also be that many businesses,
    particularly the well run and more clear minded are for many reasons really fed up with the
    newspaper and other media. Because these folks just would never, ever, leave any room for
    any sound business calculation at all.
    And certainly, for many reasons, a piece of interest is this old article from 2004, mentioning the
    Rocky Mountain News which – logically – folded several months ago. The article how the
    CO papers raised their ad rates rather steeply while circulation was down. A pricing not so
    uncommon for many newspapers (worldwide, btw.). And that’s where the chance for small
    marketers is, in my opinion.

    And as far as forecasting the economy is concerned, a pretty popular video is the
    “Peter Schiff video”, three news shows in 06 / 07, financial experts forecasting and advising.
    Most of them incredibly wrong. It’s a wow and seeing it means usually knowing why it’s so
    popular. – This doesn’t answer forecasts for the future, but maybe it’s of interest the same,
    if unknown.