First of all, I can’t believe I’ve just written the headline above. Yet here we are, in 2022, with the words ‘war’ and ‘brands’ turning up in the same sentence.

These are confusing times. No doubt about it. 

Proof of how confusing they are can be seen in social media feeds that are currently full of posts from brands claiming that they stand with a country that is experiencing death and destruction via invasion. Some brands have even integrated the Ukrainian flag into their social media profile picture. Uff. 

We get it – it’s difficult to be a brand’s marketing team during a time like this.

You feel like you’ve got to be part of the trending conversations on social media all the time (that’s literally your job), but at the same time, the trending topic is about thousands of people dying, or fleeing because of a war that has all of us shaken.

Please note: we wrote that last sentence over ten times, as it turns out there’s no way to express how tragic this situation is.

While it isn’t the exact intended meaning of the word, we feel like nothing describes better the heavy emotions hanging from the chest of people across Europe – and much of the world – than the word Weltschmerz. 

Returning to the message that motivates this post – as it’s an important one – #standwithukraine is not a marketing campaign for your company.

The sentiment behind this hashtag is a truly human one and should remain untouched by brand’s marketing teams. 

As things are confusing at the moment, we’ve put together a few things we believe brands should consider when it comes to navigating these tragic times, and how they should do it with the empathy their audience’s deserve. 

These thoughts are inspired by what we spend most of our days doing – listening and understanding a vast array of audiences on social media and in the real world. 

Also, we ain’t judging. We’re rather just trying to help you make sense of these turbulent times.

Here goes:

Brands need to be extremely good listeners in 2022

Anybody with a heightened sense of empathy and sensitivity is, without exception, a good listener. 

Practising emotional intelligence and empathy as a brand reveals that there are humans working behind that logo. And all audiences are craving at the moment is human connection. 

So be sure to give it to them.

The only way you can do this is by spending a lot of time in your comments section on your social channels and listening to what your audience is saying.

Even go as far to create content that asks your audience what they want of your brand during these uncertain times. 

Use whatever means you have to reach out to your audience and lend them your ear, show them that you care where they’re at. Because if you don’t care about that in 2022, don’t expect your audience to stick around.

Brands need to be sensitive and understand when the right marketing strategy is to simply remain silent.

Silence is also a strategy especially in times like these. 

Brand advocacy absolutely needs to be built on meaningful action

Brand advocacy is a powerful force in 2022. It’s sparking real change. 

Consumers, the people behind the credit cards, are demanding brands to do more than sell. This pressure applied by people power has forced brands to reconsider their place in the world, and to raise their influential voices to reflect what their communities stand for. 

On point brands are speaking up for their communities values

However, advocacy needs to be backed up by real, on-the-ground action. Action that makes a real difference. This is the only way your audience will trust you, and trust is the most valuable currency in today’s world when it comes to brands. 

The ultimate test to use when considering if you should enter your brand’s voice into a social media discussion

Think to yourself, and ask your marketing team: if you came face to face with somebody affected by the issue or cause that you are advocating for, or building a campaign around, would you be able to proudly stand behind it? 

Could you look them in the eye and believe that your campaign message (and actions) really contributed to bettering the victim’s situation? 

If so, it’s highly likely you should follow through with it. If you get an uncomfortable feeling in your chest – similar to indigestion after eating a fat, spicy burrito – when imagining this scenario, then you should probably adopt the strategy of silence.

Your conscience and your audience will thank you for it. 

#standwithukraine should remain clean of any marketing team’s fingerprints

We thought we should mention this one more time as it’s worth emphasising.


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