When certain events or issues dominate a news cycle, many brands may want to know if and when they should make their own opinions known. Protests, demonstrations, public health crises, political controversies – these are all situations that businesses might feel the need to make a statement, or to communicate where they stand to customers.
A smart brand statement can help in gaining customer loyalty and support, while one that is less well thought-out could result in backlash or be perceived as insincere or opportunistic.
When the conversation on social media and the press is dominated by certain events, here are some things to keep in mind as your brand formulates a reaction.
Put Substance Behind Your Statement
A statement without substance can sometimes be worse than no statement at all. Make sure that your statement is genuine and sincere, and where appropriate, show what you’re doing to make a difference or give back, such as a donation or supporting a petition. Especially for issues related to social justice or inequality, consumers want to know where your corporate social responsibility lies. If nothing else, explain to your audience how the event has affected your brand, and what you will do as a company to ensure that you are standing on the side of justice.
Before you comment on a situation, consider how you can lead by example. Encourage your audience to take a stand alongside your company and make a difference in their own way too. Include resources that consumers can use to educate themselves about the problem at hand. What can you share with your audience to help them be more informed?
Pay Close Attention to Engagement
After making a public statement, pay close attention to the engagement and feedback you receive from your audience. Whether it is negative or positive, it is imperative to respond to direct customer engagement. By acknowledging their comments, customers will feel valued and heard. Respond to a difficult comment with answers to their concerns, or when in doubt, direct them to another team member or resource that can help.
An open dialogue between your brand and your audience can be healthy and effective for your business. It may not always be an easy conversation to navigate, but if you are genuine, supportive, resourceful and attentive to the problem, your brand can use its platform to make a difference.