DC Branding 101 : How Should Brands Respond to Tragedy?

Branding in Times of Tragedy

When tragedy strikes, marketers have typically struggled to show their support in a way that is effective, true to their brand, but also sensitive. Some ad professionals say brands should not get involved at all in order to stay mutual and avoid conflict, but how is this possible in the social media driven society we live in?

AdWeek discusses this topic in a sensitive and unbiased manner. After the Paris attacks on November 13, many major brands including Amazon, Google and Uber used social media to show their support for victims of the attacks.

however not all of their customers reacted positively to this PR choice, some go as far as calling it self-promotional garbage.

DC Branding | Branding and Tragedy
DC Branding | Branding and Tragedy

A Companies Choice to Brand

The question is,  are cashing in on tragedy as a means of gaining popularity, or are they using their popularity as a way to gain support and sympathy for the victims.

Consider this: many of these brands are doing more for the cause then simply changing their colors and appearance. Google made all international calls to France free of charge via the app Hangout so anyone with loved ones in France during the attacks had better chances of connecting.

As they have done before in the face of disaster Airbnb opened up their Disaster Response site specifically to connect those stranded from their homes with those willing to open their doors to the victims.

Branding and Tragedy

It is a personal choice for all brands and marketers of how they want to represent themselves in the face of tragedy, but for the most part we think brands should show some type of symbolic support of solidarity without being insensitive or opportunistic at the same time.

Our prayers are with Paris, Lebanon and all other parts of the world effected by tragedy.




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