Social media tributes: brands beware
Thinking about what to post on social media as a brand is exhausting… and never ending. So, when something big happens globally, many brands think it makes sense to make that easy jump on to the content creation train as it whooshes by...when it could end up costing you in the long run.
Thinking about what to post on social media as a brand is exhausting… and never ending.
So, when something big happens globally, many brands think it makes sense to make that easy jump on to the content creation train as it whooshes by.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II last week meant that social media was awash with tributes, comments, and outpourings of sentiment.
Among those tributes were plenty of brands that got it right, for example Paddington Bear’s sweet tribute to Ma’am was extremely relevant because they had partnered with The Queen on several occasions, recently releasing an endearing video which showed Paddington and The Queen enjoying afternoon tea together at Buckingham Palace for the Platinum Jubilee.
Selfridges also led the way with a touching tribute, blacking out their windows and closing their main stores for the day. Clearly a move that wasn’t sales based.
But there were also plenty of brands that were nothing short of cringeworthy, and that clearly hadn’t thought this through, leaving themselves open to some ruthless social media heckling and subsequent brand damage.
There was a slew of mirrored condolences from West End productions such as Hamilton and Les Misérables, and while I’m no theatre expert, I do believe that these productions are about uprisings and revolution against the monarchy? Les Misérables has since deleted its ill thought out post, but the damage was already done.
We’ve also seen some downright disrespectful posts from CrossFit UK with the Queen Elizabeth II Tribute Workout and some interesting posts from Dominos, the British Kebab Awards and even McDonalds. I didn’t know Her Majesty personally, but she didn’t strike me as someone who would have dropped into Maccas for a Big Mac to cure her hangover? Then we have BooHoo fashion, again I struggle to see the relevance of this one, unless perhaps you need an outfit for King Charles’ coronation?
While I believe that it’s right to honour the life of someone who served The Commonwealth for 70 years and dedicated her life to the throne, I also think it’s right to take some time to sit with the idea and work out whether it really is relevant to you and your brand.
When you’re thinking about getting on a trending global movement such as the death of a much-loved monarch, I believe it’s important to re-visit your brand values - is this part of a narrative you’ve had before? And will continue to have? Or are you just jumping on a bandwagon and looking for trending content?
The first and most important rule of social media is you don’t have to post just because everyone else is.
If you’re unsure or it’s just a thinly veiled attempt to direct some traffic your way, my advice would be to sit this one out... or your brand could end up paying for it.
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