It’s been quite the week, with Joe Biden sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, the Covid death toll continuing to rise, but with both the former and roll out of the vaccination programmes around the world there are a few glimmers of hope.
As the pandemic continues to impact every part of our lives, from the places we can go and the way we spend our time to our priorities and the way we spend our money. Of course, this has wide-ranging ramifications for marketing and advertising – as well as a number of other sectors like travel, retail, hospitality and entertainment – and it’s no surprise brands are dazed, confused and feeling like we’re operating in a world changing faster than we’ve got time to draft a strategy deck. But as the globe keeps spinning we don’t have the luxury of time to catch our breath, or even check if we’re even heading in the right direction.
Now this isn’t our first ‘virus themed’ rodeo and almost a year on we hope we are now more equipped to tackle the hurdles hurtling towards us, or at least follow the examples of brands and organisations that appear to be getting it right.
For example ride-sharing giant Uber will cover free trips to seven mass-vaccination hubs set up across England to help the most vulnerable receive the life-saving jab and support the UK Government as it fights the coronavirus pandemic.
In the US brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Bumble took to social media to share their celebratory reactions to the inauguration – even as others remain silent or have paused campaigns until after the inauguration – while the country grapples with the political unrest following the riots on the U.S. Capitol just two weeks ago. Many of the brands that have spoken out, like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, are doing so as they advocate for issues inherent to their brand purposes.
It seems more and more of today’s brand managers are tasked with making game-time decisions in extremely heavy situations. From reacting to the inauguration – and less than two weeks after the attack on the Capitol – we’re all gearing up for what is sure to be another stressful, tense week that could require last minute actions for their brand platforms. Figuring out if—and what—to post in the midst of a crisis is anything but simple and a poorly timed social post, or ad placement can tarnish even the best of brands.
The best advice we’ve taken onboard is, that as a sector, we should all take one day at a time when assessing the current political climate during inauguration week. Keeping a pulse on conversations and sentiment through social listening can help managers read the room when deciding if their brand’s social strategy should be business as usual, or to go silent.
Actions speak louder than words. Twitter had tried to police Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweets for longer than we can care to remember, but it wasn’t until they took a stand and blocked his account completely people started to take notice. It is no longer good enough to hang onto the coat-tails of someone’s else good deed, or sign an open letter you have no attention of acting upon.
Brands need to take risks and dare to be brave. Being brave means taking risk without fear. The judging panel for our Brand Bravery Award will look for marketers who took a risk and have been rewarded with results, or learnt from failure, which enabled them to surpass expectations.
Are you a risk taker? Trailblazer? Then prove it. Make sure you enter into our Brand Bravery Award by the standard deadline of 28th January, go on… we dare you. As afterall, actions speak louder than words.