A Lesson From “Slumdog Millionaire”

For those of you who are movie geeks, you’re probably still overjoyed that “Slumdog Millionaire” won Best Picture at last night’s Oscar’s. I know I am. One of the things that I love about this movie is that it is a story of hope, despite what appear to be insurmountable odds (no, I will not give away the plot, but click here for details, if you’d like to know more).

I think hope is one of the things that will sustain us in this uncertain economy – we have to keep hope alive if our businesses are to survive, let alone thrive. We are entering a new era and we need to be smart, but how?

Hope is hard to come by. There was a story on the news today about how the economy will continue to worsen this year, but eventually get better in 2010. Meanwhile, unemployment claims continue to grow as cutbacks deepen. The Academy Awards scaled back its hoopla last night and even Fashion Week took a hit and showed some rather depressing styles last week that suggested the end of parties and long periods of staying home and wallowing.

I’m sure that by now, you have heard some of the details of the economic stimulus package. From lowered payroll taxes that should result in increased retail, restaurant, and entertainment traffic to federal money that will allow college students to buy computers, the package promises steady and gradual growth in many sectors across the board.

How will this affect marketers? Is it time to pull out all the stops and pretend the recession never happened? Hardly. We’re poorer these days, but definitely smarter. Your customers want a personal relationship with your brand, rather than a series of messages that aren’t targeted specifically toward them.

This is the time to ask critical questions – what brand impressions do you want your customers to remember once they have disposable income again? Are your marketing efforts reactive or proactive? How will you grow your brand as the economy continues to evolve?

While I can’t say when the economy will improve, it will happen. The rest is up to you. It is written. In the meantime, here is some inspiration – a song of hope that also happened to win Best Song.

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