As marketers descended on Orlando for the Masters of Marketing conference, the Dow had taken a significant tumble, but Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally, is confident that recession isn’t around the corner. “We don’t see any signs in the data” that a downturn is imminent, she says in this video interview, noting there is healthy consumer spending and consumers are paying back their debt. However, she says, it’s always a good idea to prepare, especially as the coming election is likely to cause nervousness among consumers.
Her advice: “Lean into your brand and don’t cut back spending,” Brimmer says. “While the economy is strong, push it as far as you possibly can and then make the proper adjustments.”
Brimmer says those adjustments will mainly be in messaging if a downturn takes hold. Ally, which launched in the teeth of the last recession, knows better than most. The company disrupted the financial services market by introducing the notion of online banking. “We made a huge bet,” said Brimmer during her ANA stage presentation earlier on Thursday. “We said, ‘Everyone is going to bank in the palm of their hand.’”
The company succeeded in getting people to “convince millions of people to send their money to the internet. To trust in something they never heard of,” she said, with ads like the one that showed a man asking a little girl if she wanted a pony and giving her a toy. He asks another little girl and she says yes—and is given an actual live pony. When she questions the unfairness of why her pony isn’t real, he says: “you didn’t ask.” The spot drew a sharp line between Ally and old-line banks that dictate rules to customers. “We want to be a relentless ally for our customers’ well being,” said Brimmer from the stage.