Knowing a good brand when you see it isn’t just about a recognizable logo, an unforgettable catchphrase or a (seemingly) committed personality and tone. How a brand can navigate through change and relay topical messages outside its normal comfort zone is just as, if not more, important.
When dealing with sensitive or controversial issues, the biggest corporations are put under a microscope for their decisions to speak up or stay silent. Brands are especially subject to scrutiny when pushing out a slew of marketing campaigns and tactics to coincide with seasonal tide.
There’s a big difference between genuine support of a cause or sincere recognition of an event, rather than jumping on a bandwagon, yet some businesses seem to walk a thin line. Here are three things to consider to make sure your brand is on the right side of that cause marketing tightrope:
1. Do more than just the bare minimum.
This one might seem obvious, yet far too many brands fall short on this for observances and timely topics every year. Don’t be lazy and chime in quietly just to check a box. A logo change or inspirational quote on your social channels isn’t enough and certainly isn’t making an impact.
2. Avoid stereotypes and don’t make assumptions.
This is a universal marketing principle but an especially important one for seasonal or observance-based campaigns. Stick to what you know and don’t embarrass the brand by saying anything that could be taken the wrong way. Importantly, don’t say anything at all if you’re uninformed. Rather, source content and messages from the organizations closest to the matter and engage with them directly.
3. Stay committed to the causes you support year-round.
You’re missing the point and cheating yourself and your customers, followers and other stakeholders if you only build materials around a celebration when it’s opportunistic and stop promoting them shortly thereafter. That’s one major thing preventing these gimmicks from being seen as legitimate displays of passion and support: They’re only temporary. If a subject truly matters to a business, it won’t stop at driving awareness toward it just once or twice a year because it feels inclined or pressured. Instead, brands remain loyal to their causes and keep them front-of-mind in their regular marketing strategy.
Don’t let a calendar or news event dictate your brand’s positioning or allow societal norms to keep you from communicating when you feel it makes sense. Just let your brand be its true, authentic self, and the right communication will follow naturally.