Companies often come under fire for making irrelevant, poorly-timed posts or announcements during tumultuous times. With crisis after crisis unfolding before our eyes each day, week and month, many are wondering: When is it okay to share your company message or story? If you’ve been asking yourself the same thing, read on.
Time after time, experience has shown businesses that the key is to send your message in a way that doesn’t diminish or detract from a current cause or crisis in the spotlight, while also ensuring that you do not appear to be monetizing on other people’s misfortune.
I have created a simple checklist to help companies work out how and where to share their message while navigating the minefield of public opinion in times of turmoil.
1. If your company is impacted, share how you’re helping.
Is your company directly impacted by the current crisis? If so, try sharing how you are helping solve the problem or dealing with it, even on a small scale. Your honesty as a company can insert you into relevant conversations that people care about.
For example, one client of ours is a large, influential American transportation company. Each time the owner makes a statement or posts to social media, we encourage him to be honest and open about gas prices, inflation, trucker demands, etc. This way they are able to show that they’re growing despite challenges. They are also able to demonstrate their own competence concerning and investment in addressing the issue at hand.
2. Make a personal statement.
Do you have any past clients or a personal story connecting you to a current situation that is unfolding? If so, you can write a personal statement about what is going on. You may consider sharing how you as a company or CEO have handled this issue in the past. The goal is to be a positive voice providing clear solutions to help people.
We did this recently with one client who runs a charity helping orphanages in a country experiencing political unrest. As the crisis unfolded, it made sense for this particular client to share the story of how they are helping and invite others to help as well.
3. Do not distract from direct aid.
Can your company get involved in helping the problem directly only with the right funding, resources or people power? You should not take this opportunity to plug your company. The goal is for you to focus on actual aid. When appropriate, your business should only be used as a platform to host and share relevant content if it relates to the issue at hand.
During times when crises are less prevalent, it may be totally okay to discuss your business, message and special offers directly. In fact, this is important to share your company’s story. But, during times of true crisis such as war, violence and injustice, it’s important to not detract from more pressing issues.
Always prioritize tact and sincerity.
Remember that we are all human and we have all suffered or experienced turmoil, heartache, fear and loss. Express this to your audience where appropriate. Let them know what actions or steps you are taking as a company—big or small—to make the world a better place.
Focus on solutions and aid. Allow your brand to be associated and enter the conversation. But on the same note, be careful not to take sides when not appropriate. Rather, try to show support and understanding for all. This will go a long way.
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