While clients have been playing their budget cards carefully during uncertain market conditions I can’t help but be tremendously bullish on our near term future. Perhaps it’s my early morning java kick starting my brain but the facts are hard to ignore. We’ve landed nine new clients, won every RFP we’ve participated in this year and are working on 30 different projects!

In almost every case we’re hearing clients quietly tell us they’re gearing up to begin their marketing push this July. In this months Event Marketer magazine ‘s special “It List” section, they report that of 500 brand-side marketers surveyed, Q3 and Q4 are going to see more than a two-fold increase in spending for the second half of this year (see the second page of the link) –http://www.eventmarketer.com/templates/Event_Marketer_Magazine/media/1_EMList.pdf

Aside from the regular business indicators, I’ve developed an on-the-ground real people barometer to check the pulse of the current business climate. Every time I take a cab or grab a coffee I have a quiz I run through with the cabbie and barista. By the way, listen carefully to the cabbies in Vegas; they’re an astute group. They all note that from October of last year to mid February of this year the number of fares and double espressos were down. Regulars had vanished, and business clients were cranky – no real surprise there. But, since mid February there has been a noticeable change for the positive – more smiles, increased traffic and better tips. Interestingly, my office looks out on the runway of Spirit of St. Louis Airport and I can’t help but notice an increase in takeoffs and landings of private corporate jets over the last five weeks. Why are those guys firing up their fancy jets if not to build business?

There you have it. Business is getting busier, clients are smiling, cabbies are driving like maniacs (that hasn’t really changed), coffee is flowing freely and the skies are filling with hungry business moguls on the move. My guess is every brand manager in America is about to wake up with a recession hangover and realize they need to take action to resuscitate their waning branding efforts and it’s going to be a mad rush to the market starting in July. So here’s my advice to mend your branding pain – go directly at your customer base. Go at them with experiential marketing, face-to-face engagements, street teams and guerilla tactics as a key part of your assault. People want to feel good about themselves and the choices they make. They’re open to those brands that can add value to their lives and they will spend accordingly.

Let the branding BEGIN! Again.