No doubt the pandemic has deeply affected our families, work, the economy, social activity, and of course, our health. In has also affected how companies operate and how they communicate with their customers and the public.
Being tone-deaf to what is happening in the world can do tremendous reputational damage to a brand. Many companies recognized this and started to incorporate acknowledgment of the pandemic into their Corporate Social Responsibility programs, and their communications, in mid-2020.
And now several major brands are recognizing the need to not only adapt to the societal changes, but also involve themselves by reaching out to the public with pandemic messaging, some of it replacing their existing marketing.
Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Coke, Audi and others are adjusting, or even eliminating, the holy grail of marketing platforms from their ad schedules: the Super Bowl. And several are donating their ad time to vaccine education and other non-profits.
This is an excellent example of following some of the basic tenants of good communications, regardless of the time we find ourselves in.
Stay connected to what is happening in society, and with your public.
Be authentic and transparent.
Deliver value to your audience.
Be flexible and adjust when appropriate.
Being socially responsible is not only about donating money and involving your employees in cause programs. Corporate Social Responsibility is about being accountable to your stakeholders, the public, and to yourself. It is an awareness of how your brand affects society.
Companies need to learn how to “read the room.” Corporate Social Responsibility should be a critical part of a company’s branding efforts and in some cases it can even lead the efforts and serve as the umbrella mission over marketing and public relations, driving the company image.
Whatever position your company decides to embrace, the recognition of societal change can be a driver for positivity in your communications and show benefit and value to your publics.