The pandemic is not the only curveball 2020 threw full-speed at the world. Within the past year, Americans have endured countless gender/racial inequalities, the Black Lives Matter movement, a global pandemic, a storming of the Capitol, and potential impeachment. Experts agree that crisis hit the world harder in 2020 than ever before.
Unfortunately, we have grown accustomed to crises, and even more accustomed to forming politically correct, empathetic, and informative responses. Companies across all industries have been thrust onto their soapbox as consumers demand acknowledgment of political news.
A New Kind of Social Activism
National or global news commentary has never before fallen under the responsibility of businesses, however social media marketing has created a whole new social standard.
Instagram story infographics seem to be a common marketing strategy among smaller businesses in an attempt to subtly illustrate their social and political commentary. These cute graphic designs are often aesthetically appealing and made in-house unless they are re-posted by larger accounts.
Larger companies are taking concrete action, as Airbnb announces a seven-step plan to protect the Washington, D.C. area, lengthening cancellation periods and “removing accounts associated with hate group members”.
Airbnb isn’t certainly isn’t the only company to aggressively implement a crisis management plan.
Social Media Crisis Management
As the majority of modern society becomes more outspoken about social justice issues, this passion for equality is sometimes channeled toward public figures and companies who do not take a stand.
After pro-Trump protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, ten major social media platforms have banned President Trump and his allies from using their services. Twitter was the first to boot the President while Facebook and Instagram quickly followed suit.
With hardly any options left, Trump posted a public speech commenting on the Capitol’s attack on YouTube. Since the video streaming service had not yet commented on the controversy, users began to share the outrage that YouTube was allowing such a message on their site.
Comedian Amy Schumer shared her own thoughts via Twitter on the morning of January 12th, asking YouTube and Google to #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy.
.@YouTube is giving Trump the platform to spread lies and conspiracies. With over 4,000 videos and 800 million views, he’s still getting his ‘stop the steal’ message out through his channel. It needs to stop.
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) January 12, 2021
Later that day, YouTube shared to Twitter that they would be removing content posted on Trump’s account for violating their policies.
1/ After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies. It now has its 1st strike & is temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a *minimum* of 7 days.
— YouTubeInsider (@YouTubeInsider) January 13, 2021
What would have happened if YouTube had not taken this action? Although it is hard to say for sure, the repercussions definitely would not have been positive.
While most of these controversial situations include acting out for equality, this recent shift has shifted power to the consumers who demand accountability. And you do not want to be on their bad side.
Crisis Communications: The 2020 Marketing Plan?
The reality is that almost every industry in the world took a hit to their business in 2020. This meant your spam email folder filled up with “a letter from our CEO”.
While at first, it may have felt like all your favorite companies were concerned about your health and well being, reality struck and it became an effective form of marketing for many companies.
As the market shifted from buying local, customer service approaches had to change to keep potential customers happy and buying.
COVID Defines Marketing Shifts
As companies started to become comfortable with the idea that marketing and communications were making a huge shift, social listening becomes a critical step in market research.
Brick and mortar retail had become complacent in their marketing activities. Why not, people historically came to them for goods and services. As the year stretched on though, companies had to get creative with marketing their products or services.
They now had to compete on a different plane than they were used to. Digital marketing turned from a good idea to a necessity for most businesses.
Social media turned into a critical vehicle for getting messages out to the masses and ad spend revenue again soared to new levels. Not only did ad spend rise but companies became more active on social media platforms as well.
We also continued to see a rise in video on social media platforms. It has been strengthened as more companies are using platforms like TikTok as a primary marketing vehicle.
With the world throwing so many problems at us how do we shift effectively?
Creating the Shift You Need
With all of the challenges that happened in 2020 and new leadership being a critical part of 2021, your business will need to continue to innovate your marketing. The key to success for your business will be to innovate in the right areas. These are 5 ways you can innovate your marketing this year.
Create an Action Plan
With all the unexpected surprises the world has faced within the past few years– we can all agree, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Although we don’t know what will happen next, creating an action plan for a potential crisis can make the response process easier.
- Research how your favorite companies deal with turbulent times and take note of their timing, medium, and audience response.
- Communicate with your social media and graphic design team. If you want to speak out about an issue, will you adjust your website’s header? Post on social media? Send out an email? All of these responses must include professional visuals and a quick turn around.
- Keep your clientele in mind. Depending on the geography and age demographics of your audience, you may not need to address every single trending social justice issue.
- Stay genuine. Of course, building a response plan can increase efficiency within your business, but stay true to your core beliefs. Don’t make your responses sound robotic or pre-planned, instead, add your own personal flair.
One thing consumers love is when they know what to expect from their favorite brand. If you have defined your brand a specific way, hold on to that.
Consumers are looking for any excuse to feel “normal” amongst the chaos caused by the crisis. If you try and blow their mind with new marketing and brand updates it may push them further away.
Nostalgia builds connections
More and more brands are leaning on yesteryear when things were better and bringing back the nostalgic feel of ads from the past. Memorable Superbowl commercials are littering tv, and social media ads are reminiscent of years past.
Influencer Marketing yields big results
2020 was the year of the creator. It seems that when you have nothing better to do you find ways to become a professional content creator. That means all over platforms like Instagram and Tiktok there are widely known creators that will hustle your products or services for swag or cash.
Rethink your marketing
This year is the year to rethink your marketing strategy. As you find your new normal, create an action plan, be consistent and think outside the box.
Does your marketing strategy need a 2021 overhaul?
Learn about how Elevare can help you reimagine your digital presence in 2021.