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Brands urged to stay positive during crisis

Brands should take advantage of the political turmoil by communicating positively with consumers and flexibly adjusting their marketing strategies.

On-usa: Time to spread message

On-usa Lamliengpol, president of the Advertising Association of Thailand, said consumers are not in a shopping mood for anything except fast-moving consumer goods. Likewise, investors are less confident.

Companies have delayed using some of their advertising budgets or have cut their spending to suit the political situation.

Ms On-usa said advertisers should adjust their plans in two major areas: content and communication channels.

Content must be aligned with the changing situation by offering a positive viewpoint to consumers or doing corporate branding, while brands should shift their communication channels to less expensive online media.

"We still can increase awareness of corporate good will in this situation," said Ms On-usa.

Pathamawan Sathaporn, head of business planning at Mindshare Thailand, said its clients are still concerned about political tensions and many are taking a wait-and-see approach before advertising.

However, most clients still run their businesses with a long-term plan and do not intend to cut their marketing budgets. At the same time, they have implemented a short-term plan to cope with the political situation.

"Brands should implement adaptive marketing approaches, particularly delivering soft and touching messages to customers. During the political crisis, consumers don't care that much about commercial messages," Ms Pathamawan said.

Although sales might stay flat or drop during the political problems, they will rapidly recover after the unrest ends.

Jiravara Virayavardhana, managing director of Ogilvy PR, said consumer goods companies are still enjoying good sales with no effect from protests as people still use the products every day.

"Our clients are still running their business plans as usual, with some campaigns planned in early February, except below-the-line activities, which are postponed. However, their long-term plans remain unchanged," she said.

Boonyarit Mahamontri, president of Lion Corporation (Thailand), the producer of Pao detergent, said sales of some products have had slow growth this month but it is too early to conclude that it's because of the political unrest.

The company will be more cautious on allocating marketing budgets.

It may also delay some product launches in February and March until it sees a better time.

"Our action plans are for one to two months and we closely monitor sales day by day," Mr Boonyarit said.

Kridchanok Pattamasattayasonthi, managing director of furniture chain Index Living Mall Co, said it has slashed its advertising budget in the first quarter by 30-40% and will use the money in the rest of the year.

A few marketing campaigns beyond customer expectations will be added in the coming months.

Fast-moving items at CentralWorld, MBK and Siam Paragon, which are near protest sites, have already been moved to other locations.

"Though sales at the branches near protest areas have dropped, some branches are having better sales," Ms Kridchanok said.