Innovative brands will save the day, says Jonathan Sands

We may be facing the worst recession since the 1930s, says Elmwood chairman Jonathan Sands, but truly innovative branding can still deliver the ‘Mickey Mouse’ antidote that consumers and clients are looking for.

Writing in the forthcoming issue of Design Week, Sands argues that, although one result of the economic crisis is that businesses will see a decline in profits, this doesn’t doom them all to failure.

He says the economic circumstances of the Great Depression of the 1930s were bleak, but they produced a number of surprising innovations, among them Disney’s now-ubiquitous rodent.

Sands identifies three ‘home truths’ that will see consultancies through the recession: first, cash management is vital, and can make up for lack of profits while minimising redundancies; second, loyalty and empathy for existing clients will be more appreciated now than ever, as companies struggle across the board; and third, innovation will be more important in gaining market share than throwing large amounts of money at problems.

The time is right, says Sands, for brands to grab the attention of consumers who are desperate to be uplifted, diverted and released from anxiety.

He says, ‘Successful brands are those that help us slow down, take a step back, and bring back a sense of togetherness… No wonder Mickey Mouse was so successful.’

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