You’ve probably heard about the Applebee’s-CNN kerfuffle. Amidst CNN’s coverage of Russia’s Ukrainian invasion, they broadcast an Applebee’s commercial showing food, beer and dancing. Viewers were outraged, and Applebee’s temporarily suspended its CNN contract.
Meanwhile, 4Patriots is advertising survival food kits anyplace you turn for Ukrainian news on CNN’s news app. 4Patriots is obviously playing on gloom and doom headlines, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn their sales are increasing.
When initiating any assignment, I typically consider several factors including objective, audience, resources, timeline, competition, corporate philosophies, and unique selling propositions.
Equally important, but frequently overlooked, is timing, which (as both these businesses know) can have a significant impact on reputation and (presumably) sales.
Regardless of what you sell, it’s important to consider the environment in which you’re selling. Because even if you’ve got all the other pieces right, there will always be negative factors beyond your control (such as a war) that can have an influence on the mindset of prospective customers.
Should you find yourself in such a situation, here are some options worth considering:
- Suspend your marketing until the dust settles so your brand isn’t associated with bad news.
- Quickly create materials more suitable to the new environment.
- Swap in proven (previously used) materials from your archives.
Assuming the message on previously used materials is appropriate, this is probably the quickest, most cost-effective weapon you’ll have in your arsenal.
Admittedly, Applebee’s won’t go under from the unfortunate timing of their ad’s placement. Indeed, the publicity generated from the CNN brouhaha might help them.
However, negative imagery undoubtedly gave their executives headaches as they went into crisis management mode. Do you really need similar worries?
The bottom line is to listen to the Boy Scouts and BE PREPARED! Always know your business objectives, customer profile, and available resources. Constantly scan the horizon for harbingers of bad weather, and be ready to alter your marketing plans on a moment’s notice if the situation warrants it.
Because just as we saw in Ukraine, things can sometimes shift overnight, and marketers who aren’t paying attention can get caught in an unpleasant environment.
But if you know what you’re doing and who you’re talking to, you can effectively turn someone else’s disaster into your selling opportunity.
With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.
Get better communications strategies at www.askmrmarketing.com.