On Wednesday, like many others, we were shocked to hear the breaking news about gunmen opening fire on staff at a French satirical newspaper office in Paris, killing 12 and injuring 11.
The gunmen said they were avenging the Prophet Mohammed and shouted "Allahu akbar," or "God is great" while opening fire.
Shortly after the news broke about the killings by extremists, the internet was lit up with hundreds and thousands of messages causing the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie and #RespectForMuslims to trend on both Facebook and Twitter.
In the midst of all the shock, debate and chatter, how should your brand respond to this incident? Or should your brand respond to it at all?
Here is an overview on how to navigate these murky waters while dealing with potentially sensitive issues that may backfire on your company if you take the wrong step forward.
1) Evaluate Your Company's Standpoint
Depending on where you company stands on this issue and which industry it is in, it may or may not be necessary to respond to this tragedy in the same way as how other brands or organizations will choose to address it.
It may not be necessary for some companies to make a public statement about this issue, say if it does not concern its customers. E.g. It would seem more appropriate if Air France were to respond to this incident than compared to a hospital or medical equipment manufacturer.
Firstly, question yourself, how is this incident related to my brand or business? How does it affect my customers? Is it important to mention it?
2) Choosing How to react
It is paramount for each social media marketing professional to tread the digital space carefully and consider what the differing opinions and outcomes would be if a statement was issued in a certain way.
Be careful and tactful when crafting your message. The message should ideally resonate with with how people feel and possibly in solidarity with them..
Define the nature of the incident and choose how to respond to it in a way that demonstrates that your brand cares for this devastating tragedy that shows how closed the minds of some people are and how insensitivity to people's beliefs and culture unfortunately cost human lives.
3) Be Ready, Be Prepared
Get a responsive creative digital agency to work with you for carefully curated, timely responses to events that affect your brand and ultimately your business. It's better to be ready beforehand than to start panicking when faced with a situation.
Start your new year afresh with bright new ideas that will bring in more business, leads and interaction to your brand. Contact us today.