This Independence Day, Take a Different Approach to Marketing
The 4th of July is the day that commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States. This day is symbolized by barbecues, parades and a whole lot of fireworks. This year, however, the 4th of July will be a bit different.
The recent outbreak has taken thousands of lives and put millions out of work. This and the tragic killing of George Floyd has put the nation in a somber mood. So while Americans will still commemorate the holiday, the celebration itself will be toned down and introspective.
In this environment, brands would need to be extremely careful about the kind of message they put out. Of course, businesses who’ve been suffering huge losses will try everything to get big sales on this holiday. But in doing so, they should avoid making gaffes that will invite rage and ridicule from consumers.
5 Ways to Approach Independence Day for Businesses
Last year, A research by ClothingRIC around 86% of Americans shopped on Independence Day. Due to the nature of this holiday, it has some tremendous business opportunities especially for retail businesses, restaurants and holiday resorts.
To make the best of these opportunities this year, these enterprises will have to market themselves in an extremely polarizing, uneasy and political environment. This would only be possible by taking a different approach to marketing.
Here are a few ways how businesses can steer their marketing efforts in this difficult time.
1. Closely Monitor the Twitter Feed
Now more than ever, it’s important for you to closely monitor your Twitter feed and analyze the trends. Understanding the general mood will help you determine what advertisement feels insensitive.
Do not, in any case, make the mistake of blindly using the ongoing trends to promote your products (even if they’re related to Independence Day). Otherwise, you would be looking at a potential PR disaster.
Phrase your messaging in a way that it comes off as genuine and speaks to the adversities people are facing right now. With the Fourth of July coming up, you have the opportunity of bringing people together. Read the room, introspect and use your platform wisely.
2. Continue to Provide Value to Customers
While businesses need to promote their products and service in one way or another, I would recommend being mindful in the current environment. Only continue with social media posts that are relevant and empathetic to the audience.
People are under immense stress due to some recent development. The brutal images of George Floyd’s death have sent shockwaves across the world. Meanwhile, the recent riots have particularly devastated several small business owners. Not to forget, all of this happening as we are going through a pandemic and an economic recession.
As marketers, it’s now our duty to be compassionate and use this moment to foster strong relationships with customers, partners and even competitors. Now is the time to seek cooperative and collaborative opportunities. Look for ways to help out. Explore deferred payment plans, generous pricing models, couponing and other similar options.
3. Take a Stance
Something has occurred in the past few weeks that’s completely unprecedented. Brands are now openly standing behind people who are peacefully protesting police brutality and calling an end to institutionalized racism.
Usually, companies stay out of any matter that’s deemed divisive and controversial. They don’t want to risk angering one side by openly siding with the other. But as we have seen in the past few days, brands such as Netflix and Nike are standing with the #BlackLivesMatter protests. Even BabyNames.com has put forward a powerful message.
Businesses in America are entering in an unknown territory and whether you decide to follow them is your decision to make. However, as a famous quote by one of South Africa’s leading anti-apartheid figures goes “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Desmond Tutu’s quote captures the general feeling in the USA where silence is being equated with complicity. Standing for a just cause is the right thing to do. And in light of Independence Day —it’s the American thing to do.
4. Make Your Brand Voice More Human
If your business relies on social media bots, now is the best time to ditch them. What you should do instead is amplify your brand voice.
The current circumstances are extremely depressing and people are filled with anxiety and despair. If your brand voice is inspirational, share videos and quotes to raise people’s spirit and remind them that things will eventually get better.
More than anything, try to communicate with your customers. Listen to their concerns and respond empathetically. Tell them what your business is doing to help.
Now is also a good time to let your employees, particularly those belonging to minority communities, to take the front seat. Give them a platform to voice out their opinions on the on-going pandemic and the anti-racism protests. Let them lead discussions and be your brand voice ahead of Independence Day.
5. Help Out Small Business Owners
The year 2020 has been especially rough on American small businesses. First, these businesses suffered catastrophic losses due to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders —the lootings across the cities made things even worse.
When peaceful protests turned violent in states such as Minnesota, local stores and retail chains reported hundreds and thousands in damages. Fortunately, 50 to 60 percent of small businesses have insurance according to NBC. But those who are uncovered are reaching out to communities for financial help.
This is where you can chip in. No what’s the amount, your donations to small business owners in your community will send out a clear message; that you stand with everyone affected by senseless lootings.
Reaching out to local businesses and giving them a helping hand will only demonstrate that you walk the walk when it comes to corporate responsibility. It will also display your commitment to American businesses..
In the current political and social climate, marketing has become much more complex. A usual July 4th campaign that celebrates the red, white and blue just wouldn’t cut in an environment where people are anxious, frustrated and worried about their future.
Your marketing campaign in the age of coronavirus, economic recession, riots and social justice movements should be dictated by compassion and empathy.
While the usual marketing tactic would be to play safe instead of taking on controversial issues head on —times have changed. Now, you must take a stand and engage with customers, partners and even competitors on matters that you previously ignored.
Times such as these demand bold leadership from businesses. Anything else is just noise that will drown and disappear.