Sullivan singles out Southwest Airlines (LUV) as being better positioned than some of its rivals in a sluggish economy.
"If you look t the airline category, Southwest has an advantage during a recession because it is perceived to be lower-priced and better value," she says. "Some people would argue that it has better service."
Southwest cultivates trust by not overpromising, something successful companies across all industries and price points have needed to do post-recession, she says.In a survey of 1,400 high net worth people about their attitudes around the recession, Sullivan says she found "that it is really important that marketers acknowledge the situation and be authentic and study language that resonates with people versus language that is not believable." "Words like 'ensured' and 'results' and 'savings' are really good; saying things like 'dreams come true' are really bad because they weren't believable," she says. "Customers love words like 'experience,' 'certified' and 'customized" because it made them feel like they were making a good, rational decision."