Today’s American political environment poses significant risks to marketers. Companies need to adjust their marketing programs to ensure that they don’t step on a political landmine from either side. Marketers in bad political climates need to take the right steps to avoid potential negative brand impact.
It used to be said that all publicity was good publicity. Given the recent blowback experienced by several high-profile companies over the last two years, that axiom may no longer be relevant. A single misstep can lead to lost revenue, layoffs and even bankruptcy.
Marketers need to adjust their programs accordingly. Here are a few tips that can help you minimize brand risk.
Step one: Add an extra, non-marketer pair of eyes
Marketing departments can sometimes be opinion echo chambers. Before creative is rolled out to the public, you should run your concepts by people within and outside of your organization, who don’t have a vested interest in the creative or marketing concept. They can provide you with a fresh perspective and potential “gut check,” which you may not get through focus groups or from other members of your marketing team.
Step two: Don’t take political views to work with you
Most Americans have some sort of opinion on the state of the country and its political leadership. Marketers are no exception. However, those personal opinions need to be checked at the door. No matter how much you like or dislike a specific political party or politician, you need to stay objective. Chances are that a material portion of your target audience does NOT think the way that you do and will be deeply offended by your creative message, even though you may view it as innocent or funny. Don’t do it!
Step three: Focus on marketing value
Media has become saturated with marketing messages. Your target market is inundated with calls, emails, advertisements and more. It can feel like an impossible mission to break through all the noise. It’s at this moment that marketers might want to use either overt or covert creative tying directly or indirectly into the political environment. Don’t do it!
Take the smart choice and focus on the benefits that your brand’s solutions (products or services) bring to your target market. More than ever, prospects want to be educated on your products and services. This is especially true with B2B considered purchases. Take the time to fulfill this need through content marketing.
Step four: Educate your audience with content marketing, not bad political climate
Depending on the type of content, content marketing can fulfill your marketing requirements across all stages of the inbound funnel – awareness, interest and action. For marketers who want to be able to stand head and shoulders above their peers, a frequently updated corporate blog is a good first step. With the right content specifically tailored to your targeted audience, along with regular posting frequency, you can quickly achieve the visibility that you desire. Importantly, you’ll be able to achieve it cost effectively while minimizing political risk.
When developing educational content for your blog, focus on answering key questions that your target audience has about your product/service. Case studies and Q&A blog posts are excellent content vehicles to do so.
At the end of the day, your job as a marketer is to drive brand awareness and bottom line revenue results in a manner that does not harm your company. Do it right and reap the rewards. Develop the right steps for marketers that are dealing with bad political climates. Then dip your programs into the political waters and swim at your own risk!