Strike Up the Brand

This is no time not to be seen
Photo by Scott Holstein

We inhabit a fast-paced world in which we are bombarded at most every waking moment with advertising messages.

How many?

A marketing research firm, Yankelovich, calculated in 2007 that the average person in a modern society was exposed to around 5,000 ads a day. Today, Clario, a digital security business, estimates that that figure has doubled to ı0,000.

Our phones and other devices to which we are continuously attached, including the latest watches, host a roaring stream of advertising content. One might theoretically refrain from looking at his phone for a time, but so given are we to FOMO, the “fear of missing out,” that few of us can go no-tech for an hour, never mind a weekend. It’s as if we require permission or assurances from our phones that it is OK to take the next breath, the next step.

There are times when I yearn for the days when “handheld” referred to a sandwich.

Admittedly, I am an old school guy. I still watch the news at 6:30, and the ads that I am most likely to remember are TV spots, although I try to forget the ones that run over into the next time slot. Some spots run so often that they lose effectiveness and wear me out. 

Since March, when the music stopped, advertising in many cases has become less abrasive, less loud. Countless businesses are all disseminating their versions of the “we’re in this together” message. The pandemic has had the effect of putting all of us in the same boat in an uncharted sea.

Once, not so long ago, officials in Florida were confident that the state had somehow dodged a bullet and would not become a COVID-19 hotspot as New York City had. That confidence, as we have learned, was misplaced. As I write this, the words, “new epicenter,” are being applied to the Sunshine State.

Things might have been different had Americans more closely heeded the advice of our new Walter Cronkite, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Instead, they flocked to Florida beaches en masse and unmasked, thinking themselves somehow invulnerable.

Our shopping habits and opportunities have been dramatically altered, and small businesses, the strength of the American economy, are reeling. Many have reacted by scaling back on their messaging as part of survival strategies, but at the end of the day, their brand is their backbone and consistency is the key to brand reinforcement and viability.

Businesses that continue to promote their brand will be in the best position to rebound quickly when the virus relents or a vaccine is developed and the economy ramps back up to speed.

So, I encourage businesses to keep waving their flags. Take steps to be seen and not forgotten. I encourage consumers to shop locally and compassionately. The local economy and the businesses that make it up need your support.

It is hard to ignore an ugly present, but businesses that anticipate and prepare for a brighter future are the ones that will survive and flourish.

Stay healthy and be smart,


Brian Rowland