Marketing in a Cautious World

A blue brick wall with the shadow of a person sneaking cautiously across it, with the text, "Marketing in a Cautious World."

Political unrest, vaccination debates, women’s rights, return-to-office…seems like a lot of topics are off-limits, and we’re all walking around on eggshells. Even the weather has become controversial (global warming anyone?). 

How the hell are you supposed to market in this crazy world we live in? 

Don’t worry, we got you, and so does Ad Age. So, let’s dig in, shall we?

Tone & Voice

No one needs another blog or article that starts out stating the obvious. Why yes, the last year or so has been an absolute clusterf*ck; we appreciate you pointing out the obvious for the umpteenth time. 

If you really want to engage with people, be positive and uplifting. We all need some hope and light at the end of the tunnel, be that light. 

A new report from Valassis shows 68% of respondents overall prefer messages that are uplifting, and 73% of Gen X and parents feel this way as well. About the same percentage of people prefer humorous ads.

In other words, the world may still be on fire (quite literally), but people are sick of being bombarded with the negative; they want to be reminded of what they do have. Focus on hyper-local messaging, community and human connection.

AND…use humor whenever possible. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Health & Wellbeing

We’re not dumb. We all know this damn pandemic is gonna be sticking around for heaven knows how really is our “new norm.” We know, we know…we just couldn’t help slipping that in, now let us pivot to our next point. 

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in; companies need to integrate health, safety and wellbeing into all marketing messages. It shows your commitment to your employees and community. 

Ignoring the state of the world will make you appear flippant and self-absorbed. 64% of millennials, 70% of parents and 72% of millennial parents are interested in ads that focus on health and wellness.

Speak Up

A lot of bad shit is happening in our world, and brands cannot remain silent. We won’t rehash the first sentence in this blog cause we are all painfully aware of what is going on around us.

As many as 52% of respondents say it’s important that the brands they purchase from have values aligning with their own.

Take us for example, we tend to be pretty outspoken about LGBTQIA+, women’s rights, animal welfare and just generally not being an asshole. We’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but we still know lots of tea drinkers that really appreciate our advocacy and outspokenness.

You have to know your audience, what is important to them and then you need to speak up. People support brands they believe in, whether that is a company focused on being environmentally responsible, sustainable or priding themselves on their ethical business practices.

Actions Speak Louder

Speaking up is all well and good, but how are you backing it up? If a brand is all lip service, it will come back to bite them in the ass. 

Several of our team members are in the process of launching our “giving back” program which consists of pro bono work for a nonprofit in our community (that reflects our values) and team volunteer opportunities. We know a lot of community organizations can use an extra hand right now, so we’re stepping up.

This might not seem like a cut-and-dry marketing tactic, but it impacts culture, your local community and company morale. 

Your customers will take notice and it will impact your bottom line in a positive way…not to mention you’re making the world a better place beginning in your own backyard.

Now that is some real feel-good stuff.

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