Tone-Deaf Marketing in Covid-19 Times (Plus Super Star Cos Getting it Right)
As I've settled into my new normal, I have made it one of my Shut-In goals to reduce the clutter in my inbox and unfollow people and organizations on social media that as Marie Kondo says, no longer bring me joy. At first, I was just going to purge the emails from companies that no longer were of interest to me. Some were companies that perhaps my son had aged out of, some were charitable organizations I had donated to in the past and others were made up of the varying spam messages I'm pretty sure I had never signed up for in the first place.
What I wasn't prepared for, was the sheer volume of email, that I have unsubscribed from due to their total miss on messaging in these crazy times. Now, I am a full believer that even in the toughest of times, a company needs to continue selling and marketing themselves. I have spent a career encouraging companies to advertiser their products and services when sales were booming and also when sales were low. I believe you always market yourself to ensure a full pipeline and to remain connected to your community, customer and partners. What I have always also endorsed is that your messaging be authentic and represents your organization. Always.
I was shocked at the tone-deaf Happy St. Patrick's Day emails encouraging me to purchase a home, purchase a green outfit and the completely out of touch "celebrity" niche personalities selling luxury jewelry in their private jets and homes. Again, I believe that organizations should market themselves always, however marketing must pay attention to current events and climate. Major organizations have violated my code and I have purged them from my list of companies I will purchase from and support.
To counter, I must applaud the ones that are really getting it right. Delta, in a message on Mar 9 from CEO Ed Bastian, set the bar for the company on transparency and has be consistent since. Sweetgreen, has been outstanding in its communications informing all that they are open for business (moved from open, to take-away only and as of publication to free delivery as well) and also informing all that they have been providing salads for free for hospital employees. Both are companies I will continue to support in the future.
Pret a Manger is another excellent example of timely, relevant and good messaging supported by their usual incredible visual images. Bravo Pret. I promise to support you on the other side.