Those of us of a certain age remember the Rodney King trial verdict and the resultant L.A riots.
Twenty-eight years later, and frankly, little has changed. America is righteously burning. Due to pain, rage, fear, and frustration.
Protests are happening globally. And for marketers, it’s time to stop, drop, and roll, and put the brakes on your campaigns.
Now’s the time to be extra sensitive. People are crying out for justice. Don’t be the brand that shoves the metaphorical middle-finger in their faces.
You might not know this, but we’re >this< close to hitting a major milestone – the 4 AM Report has almost FIFTY episodes in the can.
And as such, we also had a full week of self-congratulating social media posts and other content all prepped to go out daily this week.
Well, needless to say – we STOPPED, DROPPED, and ROLLED.
And paused that shizz.
Who wants to hear about our celebration when, as mentioned above, America is lit with pain, rage, fear, frustration, and sadness.
We decided instead to publish what we’re calling “episode 49 and a half,” a mini-take on how marketers – just as we advised when Covid-19 hit us hard – have to press pause on their marketing right now. Yesterday even.
Read the Proverbial Room
No one wants to hear about your sales or special offers. No one wants to be targeted by advertising on FB because they Googled “backpacks” or “face masks.”
And no brand – I mean absolutely NO BRAND – wants to, unintentionally or otherwise, let fly a social media post that is tone deaf or inadvertently hurtful. What might have been cute and funny a week ago?
Trust us. It quite possibly today could be misconstrued as disingenuous. Or worse, seen as co-opting people’s very real pain and anger.
We only have to rewind the clock to see how easily this can happen. There are myriad examples of brands co-opting socio-political events over the years, and there’s one thing they have in common: they have failed BIGLY!
Who can forget Kenneth Cole’s hideously insensitive tweet during the Arab Spring uprisings:
“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now online!”
Oh yeah. They said that. And they rightfully faced a hurricane of outrage and backlash, lame apology notwithstanding.
Don’t be Kenneth Cole. Instead, here’s some advice on marketing in times of social turmoil.
“As communicators, saying ‘I refuse to deal with the politics of this’ doesn’t cut it anymore.
“If we went with that – stop, drop, and roll – like you were on fire, which we are, really. The first thing is the stop – you don’t have to know the answer instantly. And even if you do, as large enterprises, it’s not always easy to mobilize in a few hours or even a day or two, but really taking a pause is what we’re asking you to do. Stop your automation, look at what you’re doing. If you have existing funnels in place, pushing out promotional things or heavily selling something – a part of many people’s goals, because, remember, we’re coming out of a two-month lockdown in which what’s considered essential services is only just beginning to expand. And people were really preparing for a big push at this time. So, you know, reassess that stop, like, there’s no problem with that. It’s just a pause. You’ll survive.”
“Now you need to figure out how to move forward. And the simplest way is to see what the leaders of industry, marketing gurus that you follow on LinkedIn and on social channels are doing. See what they’re saying, what they’re jumping on and commenting. Also, ask yourself ‘Should my brand be saying anything at all?’ Or is it best just to stay still, and quiet, for now?
Do some general research, call your clients, ask them what they think. It gives you a bit more to work with, so don’t be afraid to call key representatives of your client demographic in this time. and ask them and go back to your brand values like Nike did. It’s not just bull shit on your PowerPoint. It’s stuff that you believe in.”
“Now we roll. We’re going to look at what you were going to put out, maybe you need to tweak the message, the tone of the copy you’ve written, maybe you need to tweak the language a bit, or you just need to wait a few days. And if you’re a solopreneur or a small biz juggling their own social media efforts, that’s when you reach out to the friends, colleagues, co-workers, even us! Reach out if you need any free advice, we’re always around and happy to chat.”
There’s more in the podcast episode itself, including ways to help the movement, financially, if you can’t physically participate. Hope you check it out.
We’re of course on Apple Podcasts – subscribe to us – you won’t regret it!
Plus, if you’re losing sleep over a particular marketing/business related problem during this Covid-19 economic uncertainty, or if you have a guest idea on the topic, let us know. Drop us a line at c+p digital.
And as always, sweet dreams…well, hopefully!