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How can brands weather inflation?

Siegel+Gale strategy director Patrick Kampff shares his ‘four A’ guide to getting through inflation – and discusses why empathy and emotion is critical for brands to survive the economic crisis

As food, petrol and energy prices spiral, and inflation in the UK hits its highest rate since the 1980s, consumers and brands are facing tough times. People are tightening their purse strings, and businesses are wondering if now’s the time to drop their prices, and maybe cut back on marketing spend. But according to Patrick Kampff, strategy director at branding and design firm Siegel+Gale, the answer to both those questions is no. Instead he advocates for a ‘four A’ approach: avoid, adjust, assess and amplify. That means not cutting prices, adapting your message without going dark, assessing your portfolio, and boosting what makes your brand great.

“First and foremost, [they have to] remember why they’re a brand in the first place,” he tells CR. “You have to understand that a brand is about assigning attributes. You represent something – quality, or safety, or reliability, and so forth. So why jeopardise that? Once you’re able to build a brand around those attributes and qualities, the benefit of being a brand is that it drives preferences from consumers, and simplifies the decision-making when they’re in the supermarket aisle.

“Last but not least, that gives you emotional rewards and benefits. So in those situations of crisis and inflation, you have to double down on these things – it’s less about making short term decisions and cutting prices.”