NEW YEAR, NEW BRAND: PART 3
All right, so let’s say your company has a consistent and unique brand voice. Great!
And your team excels at blending storytelling with instructional design to produce memorable content. Fabulous!
As a result, business is booming. Your brand is recognizable and loved. Perfect!
Then all of a sudden – uh oh.
Your organization is being called everything from “insensitive” to one of the -ISTs (racist, sexist, ableist, ageist, and so on). You’re getting canceled.
Blind Spots in Your Content Strategy
Haphazardly creating content without considering the sensitive issues that intersect with your business creates a minefield of blind spots. These blind spots, when noticed, can cause “bad optics” (or bad press), which can undermine the trustworthiness of your brand.
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that life is not business-as-usual. From #MeToo to Black Lives Matter to COVID-19, social, political, and ethical issues dominate. More people are paying attention to what businesses say and how they say it.
Even staying silent on an issue that affects your customers or employees is seen as taking a stance.
According to a recent study by Sprout Social, 66% of consumers think it’s important for brands to speak out on important issues. “Brands face more reward than risk. Consumers’ most common emotional reactions to brands taking a stand on social were positive.”
This means that whatever you do – do it intentionally.
How to Eliminate Blind Spots
1. Get Curious & Educate Yourself
The first step to eliminating blind spots is to find out what you don’t know. No one is an expert on everything, and all of us have some degree of unconscious biases.
2. Decide What Works Best for Your Brand & Update Your Style Guide
As mentioned earlier, whatever you choose to do with your content, do it intentionally.
After educating yourself on a topic, consider your brand’s mission and core values. How do they align with the issues? Do any controversial topics affect your teams, vendor partners, or customers?
Decide when and how your brand will address the issues – or not. (Remember, silence must also be intentional!)
Communicate these decisions to your team by incorporating them into your brand’s style guide and updating them regularly as the world changes around you.
What to Include in Your Brand Style Guide:
3. Elicit & Respond to Feedback
Having tunnel vision and focusing narrowly on a particular target audience can also open your content to causing unintentional offense. Therefore, it’s important to elicit feedback throughout your content creation cycle and respond accordingly.
Bottom Line: Whatever You Do – Do It Intentionally
If there’s one thing to remember it’s that your content must always be intentional.
You can absolutely choose to be controversial, stay silent, or take on a mainstream point of view. After all, you can’t please everyone 100% of the time. Criticism is a part of life.
The point is that your brand will be more resilient if you can see the criticism coming and be confident in how you’ll respond to it.
In the next and final installment of the New Year, New Brand series, you’ll learn how to take everything you’ve learned so far and execute on it by leveraging creative partnerships.
In the meantime, if you have questions or would like help developing your content strategy or recovering from a content misstep, contact us.