A Collective Held Breath

It’s been a fascinating start to what promises to be an eventful year.

The January jewelry whirl (all the activities surrounding the 24 Karat Club annual black-tie event) has come and gone, and once again it provided an amazing opportunity to network, share information, and get a sense for the year ahead.

We’re collectively holding our breath and waiting to see if we enter a recession or not. Some retailers were gloomy about their holiday season and prospects for 2008, while others were cautiously optimistic. As I write, the president and the House of Representatives have come to a rare bipartisan agreement to pump about $150 billion into the economy. While the Senate has yet to weigh in, it seems likely the measure will pass in some form.

Whether this is a slump or something more serious, we hope you’ll continue to turn to the pages of our magazine for tips on how to deal with these issues and others facing our industry. Our editorial team met for hours just yesterday to discuss ways to make our editorial even sharper and bring even more relevant and actionable information to our readers in 2008.

Speaking of business decisions in challenging times, I’ve been reviewing the commonly held beliefs about advertising during recessions. Whether you’re a retailer advertising in your community or a manufacturer advertising in trade and consumer publications, all research suggests the importance of maintaining your advertising during a recession.

Advertising in recessionary times maintains (or increases) market share and “share of mind” (which is much easier to preserve than to rebuild), presents an image of stability in chaotic times, and should be viewed as a contributor to profits. I found a wealth of information on the topic at the American Business Media Web site at www.americanbusinessmedia.com. If you’d like to discuss, contact me at msmelzer@reedbusiness.com or call your JCK ad sales representative.

PS: Speaking of the 24 Karat Club, congrats to this year’s event chair, Phyllis Bergman! Phyllis pulled together a flawless evening of great parties, a terrific dinner, wonderful entertainment (a fun, upbeat performance by Diana Ross), a great gift (pearls from Honora), and great after-parties. Well done!