The day of the Sandy Hook school shooting was the first time I questioned whether or not marketing can go on as usual when the world shakes around us…
I remember pausing all social media posts and ads for our clients, rescheduling emails, and taking some time away from my desk.
In March 2020, in the first few weeks of our “uncertain times,” I wrote personal emails to individual clients to present some ideas and ask how I could support them…
I noted that some of my marketing advice to them could prove helpful to others, so rather than pause, I shared my thoughts widely.
The day before my team left the office to celebrate #AJMBirthdayWeek, I sent emails to our clients, acknowledging the horrifying news about Russia invading Ukraine…
I reminded them that rescheduling or postponing existing communications is always an option if it feels like the right thing to do for their company, and I let them know we could help them schedule dedicated messages about world news for the week ahead, if desired.
The world continues to shake, here and abroad.
And we must continue to pay attention, take deep breaths, and ask hard questions to decide how to respond with integrity in our work and communications.
As a leader — yes, I’m talking about you — you have a responsibility to pay attention to the world around you.
I often find myself asking:
- When and why should we, as a company, inject ourselves into a conversation of national or international importance?
- Should we pause to ensure other voices take precedence? Is it appropriate to uplift those voices? How should we do that?
- Do we have anything to offer? Or would it make sense to make something to offer? (Sometimes, our existing resources or programming are helpful to re-share, and sometimes we’re in a position to create something new that would be valuable during a crisis.)
- Ultimately, if deciding to share or create something new: Who needs to know? Is sharing with everyone a performative act or something more substantial than that?
These are only a handful of questions I cycle through when contemplating how to navigate current events in our marketing.
And truthfully, I wasn’t going to write to all of you about any of this, until I realized that these questions could be a guide and a resource for you, too.
The “why” question (#1) is the most important to me when I’m speaking to our clients.
Why should we…?
To be clear, it’s not only tragedy or war that prompts this question — I also ask “why” when speaking to my clients about appreciation days or affinity months.
Does every company I work with have something valuable to add to the conversation about Women’s History Month?
Nope! And that’s ok.
There are plenty of things my company does or works on behind-the-scenes that we don’t feel the need to share about via email or social media or put into our marketing. There are things I do as an individual to support causes and people I believe in, too. I know that’s probably the case for you as well.
So this is, once again, where I’m at in thinking about how we navigate real-world situations in our marketing and communications. There is not one right way, and there never will be.
All you can do is keep paying attention and responding with purpose and integrity. You’re going to make mistakes. We all are. Try to balance critical thinking and a gentleness with yourself.
photo: Kane Reinholdsten via Unsplash
Amy Jacobus is a marketing consultant who works with service providing business owners to build and implement strategic marketing plans, grounded in the values and approach that makes their work unique. This was originally published on amyjacobus.marketing.