More often than not, brands that are scheduling tweets, not attending to the social stream 24/7 or have teams working outside the US may not even be aware when tragedy hits. The internet is full of stories demonstrating poor judgement, or lack of action, when brands act, or don’t act, in a way that appears insensitive.
Here’s my humble opinion on this: It’s important for brands to remember the context within which their message is viewed. When I worked on a big, family brand with golden arches long ago, we had a policy of not placing spots in any violent content because you don’t want your brand associated with the emotions the viewer might be feeling at commercial break. This is fairly easy to do if you have a clearly defined brand persona or manifesto.
Same thing happens in social media – when tragedy hits and people turn to social media for updates or comfort, the last thing you want them to see is your hard pitch. Brands, like people, need to be aware of context and have the confidence to quickly respond to situations.
Lisa Grimm has wise advice for brands and communities – go see what she has to say!