It’s safe to say that very few of us ever expected to be living at the beginning of a Cormac McCarthy novel, yet here we are.

So now what?

Businesses are dynamic, living, perpetual motion machines. The one thing businesses aren’t made to do is sit around and wait. Enforced idleness is anathema to business leaders, and in our present situation it’s combined with another element we dislike almost as much–uncertainty.

At some point the starter’s whistle is going to blow and it will be a headlong rush to get back to what we do. But we don’t know when that will be or what the landscape around us will look like when it comes. 

Talk about uncertainty!

Still, some examples from the past show that taking action during hard times can be a company’s best choice. One great example is Procter & Gamble.

The Great Depression took a staggering toll on consumer product companies. With a quarter of the population unemployed, inventories piled up at makers of soaps, cleaners and other products at companies like P&G.

Instead of backing down on advertising and marketing expenses to stockpile cash, P&G took the opposite direction and sought new ways to reach consumers. One of the more innovative was in the company’s sponsorship of radio programs about good people striving to get by in their daily lives. Targeted at homemakers, the serial programs featured high drama and an operatic flair. 

Sponsored as they were by a soap company, the shows became known as soap operas and were a huge hit with the decision makers in buying household products. The shows helped P&G build the name recognition and brand loyalty that helped the company survive and thrive, even in the Great Depression.

Right now is the right time to ask, what is going to be your soap opera strategy? 

About the Author

Randy Boileau

Randy Boileau has 33 years of journalism, PR and marketing experience with organizations like the Detroit Free Press, Miami Herald, Bank of America, Comerica, Mazda, Donnelly and Varnum LLP. Since founding Boileau Communications in 2004, the company has grown from a one-man PR shop to an award-winning PR and marketing communications firm. Randy is also an avid outdoorsman and can be found biking, RVing or river fishing in his free time.

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