Market View

Preparing for a New Greece ? Part One

2012/3/28 Wednesday
Mania Xenou, Managing Director Reliant Communications
Santorini While Greece is constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons, marketers are still competing for customers and finding ways to generate profit. In the catastrophic current circumstances the Greek communication sector is being forced to re-invent itself.

Scary statistics
It’s true that the statistics are scary. Private sector unemployment overall is at 20 percent (45.5 percent among those under 24), and as demand continues to shrink, these figures are only likely to get worse. The mainstream media are in trouble - TV channels have gone bankrupt, dragging advertising agencies down with them, major newspapers have ceased publication, media pension funds are collapsing, and with 70 percent of journalists aged 30-50 out of work it is estimated that seven percent of them are suffering from long term depression.

Mind games
The economic statistics, from the crippling lack of liquidity to chronically low productivity, don't tell the whole story though, and all people doing business with Greeks need to come to terms with something new - a nation in confusion which is starting to lose its social cohesion. People simply do not know what to expect or whom to believe, and there is considerable anger and suspicion as they try to understand how things were allowed to deteriorate so badly.

Unsurprisingly, this is having a major impact on Greek public opinion, which previously reacted immediately to problems identified by the media. Even major crises no longer have the same impact, as society’s tolerance is reaching its end - we are “punch-drunk”.

Not business as usual
However, despite all this, and while Greece as a nation may be currently uncompetitive, shops are open, restaurants are doing business, companies are trading with each other, firms are importing and exporting and customers are being cultivated. Whether or however Greece defaults, it’s clear that further structural change is coming and the successful marketers will be those who can appeal to the evolving Greek business and consumer mindset, no matter how gloomy, with a credible approach to both the current situation and whatever happens next. It is definitely not “business as usual.”