Many organizations are apt to scale back time and resources spent on core brand strengthening and alignment with business objectives when faced with volatile and uncertain economic times. However, from our experience, we believe these are times to double down on more clearly defining your brand positioning (visual ID and messaging) to ensure alignment with and to successfully meet business growth objectives.
A case in point: Fast Company's article on Univeristy of California's re-branding initiative which led to the restoration of $848 million in funding – an initiative that definitively supported its business objectives of leveraging themselves as a hub for the area/regional research and technology start-up scene.
As an Accenture article recently proposed, '...volatility should be your friend'. Develop a business strategy that is flexible as markets rise and fall. Then, align your brand to support business needs and don't forget to measure marketing often as up-and-down cycles are shortening.
You'll come out ahead of the rest if you invest now!