There has been a national tragedy, what would you do as a communication/marketing professional? How should you respond or should you even respond or stay silent?
Situations like these demand urgent decisions, thus, confusing marketing professionals. But that confusion won’t help as one wrong word or mistake can cause great damage to your company’s reputation.
Some of the factors that can help you in decision-making are:
Your Active Status: If you have been impacted by the tragedy or actively responded to such events and showed your support in the past, it makes sense to post your condolences or reply because your audience expects this from you. Just make sure to be really sensitive with the content.
Timing: Timing is a crucial factor to consider when responding to any incident. Make your decision quickly, a late response can only damage your reputation, especially in the wake of a major tragedy. Pro Tip: do not send any promotional messages during this period as it might offend your audience and result in negative publicity.
Relevance: If the consequences of the event directly affect your client base or industry then a brief statement would be worthy.
Staying Authentic: If you choose to speak then you must make sure that it isn’t a publicity stunt, rather state an authentic opinion.
Facts & Figures: Make sure to re-check the facts and figures about the tragedy before publishing your statement or post otherwise there is a major chance you might face a backlash.
Tragedies can elicit strong emotional response causing a feeling of urgency among PR and marketing teams to respond to the event, however, it is important for brands to not be impulsive in their response to save themselves from a PR disaster.