When incidents such as the recent violence in Charlottesville and the devastation of Tropical Storm Harvey dominate current events, it’s always interesting to see if and how brands choose to respond. Since branding is a big part of what we do, our team wanted to sift through our thoughts and feelings regarding how brands can best handle these situations.
“I think that there is a significant amount of perceived pressure on brands to make some sort of statement during tragedies and on political issues. In the end, I feel like brands should always stay true to who they are and be sincere with whatever commentary they make. I also feel like not every brand needs to speak out about an event. I believe that saying something that may be perceived as insincere is worse than not saying anything at all.”
“When it comes to brands making public statements on tragedies and current events on social media channels, it is imperative that those comments be sincere. Brands must ask themselves if it is absolutely necessary for their voice to be heard. Does their social media post truly bring awareness to a cause, or will the action of posting their social media update result in a positive action from their followers? If yes, great… post away! But if a brand’s social media post doesn’t add real actual value, their efforts will almost always appear to be dubious, insincere and dishonest.”
“I feel like there are a lot of companies and public figures that feel obligated to respond to all sorts of tragedies and current events, and a lot of the time it feels forced. If it relates to the company then of course, they should address the event. But if it’s not related to the company or person, then it’s not necessary. If it’s also something that may not directly relate to the company or person, but they feel a connection to the event/issue, then addressing it makes sense. But making sure that it’s sincere – and maybe even doing something not just saying something – comes off as more real and believable, and much less forced.”
“To me, this really depends on the brand and whether they have a connection to the events or issues that makes their statement feel genuine. If a brand is directly involved or impacted, it should be a given (see: here). Or, when a brand makes a really meaningful statement (see: here), it looks thoughtful but also feels natural. But when every brand feels pressured to say something at all, it starts to feel like lip service. Or worse, trendjacking to stay relevant (see: here). It’s not a bad thing that brands feel obligated to express their support for those impacted by tragedy, but I don’t think it needs to be a standard practice because it starts to feel rote and fake.”