This just in! Recession ended in June 2009! Extra! Extra!

In case you missed it, the NBER has officially decreed the end of the Great Recession and dated it to June 2009.  It’s the end of the recession as we know it!

Whew!  Time to open the champagne bottles!

So does this mean companies are back to “normal”?  Back to business as usual?  No.  Not even close.  The downturn was steep and long.  Of course there is a difference between the end of a plummet and a robust growth cycle that takes us to new highs.  In fact, for many people and companies it doesn’t feel like the recession has ended at all.  To be fair…

…the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.

Here’s the release in full.

The Recession Has Ended…sort of

The recovery is slow and uneven.  Some companies are winners and some companies are losers.  The ways that individual companies responded to the economic smackdown is now determining how well they are recovering.  In the initial drive to cut, cut, cut in 2008, many companies cut too far or cut the wrong things or missed an opportunity.   Others took a more strategic perspective to reinvent their marketing.

Examples:

McDonald’s vs. Burger King

Apple vs. Dell

Samsung vs. Sony

Hyundai vs. GM

The slow growth/no growth economy we are in today means that the marketing lessons from The Great Recession are still valid and relevant today.  Too much capacity, too little demand.  Demand is slow.  Demand is low.  Business will only recover when there is stronger demand.

It is a perfect opportunity for companies to use their marketing to gain competitive advantage.  Marketing is about generating demand, about shifting demand from their brand to our brand.

This is a time when strong marketing approaches can pay off.  It is also a time when many executives will be cautious.  So the question ahead — which companies will reinvent marketing and which ones will play it safe?

One key indicator — companies are making more profits (up $224 Billion in Q1 and $41 Billion in Q2) while holding down the size of their workforce.

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