Dramatic times call for dramatic advertising. Or do they?
We’re certainly living in dramatic times. Right now, the world seems a more violent and unpredictable place. Each day brings a new shock, delivered to us in a media environment in which the boundaries between politics and entertainment and news and advertising keep thinning.
What’s a responsible marketer to do? How does your message compete with the latest celebrity Twitter feud, let alone the gruesome, sad, shocking events that fill our newsfeeds in every medium? In light of the state of our union and our world, is it even responsible to ask these questions?
Of course it is. Marketing affects jobs, and it affects what we believe and how we act—alone and as a nation. Selling us a new president and generating support for your local literacy programs are all about marketing, too.
How should you proceed? With intelligence and purpose. Here are five things to consider as you go:
Watch your tone.
If you’re advertising on the evening news, you have to be prepared for the news to be bad. I might be feeling a little shaky; yelling at me about your vast fleet of Camrys might be even more off-putting than usual. Is there a kinder, gentler you in there? Is it compatible with your brand? Can you make it work? This might be a good time to find out.
Be true to your brand.
Ultimately, you can’t control the news. You have to go about your day, just as we all do. So be true to yourself. Be the smart, respectful, distinctive, outstanding brand you’ve always been. The kind of organization that wouldn’t be screeching about a lotful of Camrys in the first place, right?
Know where your money’s going.
If you’re buying advertising, you have a responsibility to know what programming you’re supporting. You have the power to influence what we see and hear and read by spending or withholding your ad dollars. If you find a program you’re sponsoring offensive, get off and tell the world why. If you truly support it, support it more.
Take control of the media.
If a good portion of your marketing strategy is devoted to smart SEO and ongoing content, you have less to worry about. Your marketing depends less on interrupting people’s infotainment and more on becoming part of it. Your video about geothermal energy can live comfortably below a link to today’s big news headline and above your coworker’s friend’s baby pictures. Interested readers will see your post and click through to your site—by choice, not by chance. Be where your customers are looking for you and let them decide.
Double down on doing good.
Right now, our world, our nation, our communities—our people—need healing. We need compassion. We need to listen to each other without prejudice. And we need action. What can you do? What do you care about most? What cause can you support? What good can you do in the world? I’m not talking about having a We Love America Sale. I’m talking about throwing your support behind the best cause you know. And, sure, tell people about it. It will probably be good for your business, and I guarantee it will be good for your soul.
Finally: Maybe this is the time you can make a difference in the world. Maybe you can help right a wrong, save something dear, create your own little moment of grace. Dramatic times mean change is in the air. Do something now.