Do you remember in one case, Pepsi took an awkward stand, enlisting cultural icon Kendall Jenner as the face of their latest campaign. In the commercial, Jenner breaks through a crowd of protestors to offer a police officer a can of Pepsi. The problem? Jenner is not a member of any counter-cultural movement. She is a representative of the 1 percent, making her a questionable character to extend a carbonated olive branch to the authorities working crowd control.
Another case, United Airlines came under fire as footage surfaced of a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked flight. While these actions—and the footage—were damning enough, the cherry on top came in the form of an unapologetic letter from CEO Oscar Munoz. The letter was circulated to employees, and was unsurprisingly leaked to the media immediately. In the letter, Munoz placed the blame squarely on the “unruly passenger”.
In a similar case, allegations have come forth in which Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was reported to have shut down employees from seeking to expand the company’s reach into India and Spain. His faulty argument was that Snapchat is for rich people, and shut down further conversation on the topic. These revelations have brought the company major public blowback, as Snap’s stock tumbled 1.5 percent in the first day of trading following the release of these disturbing details.
So what’s the takeaway?
In this day and age, marketers stand to gain if they can connect their organizations with a social cause, social media campaigns are so powerful in Digital Marketing and all Digital Marketing Specialists must take care of this professionally.
In fact, 90 percent of Americans are more likely to buy from a brand that backs social causes. That said, the modern consumer is savvy enough to recognize marketing when they see it. As a result, your brand has to actually put in the sweat equity and get to work in communities to truly cast themselves apart.
And in the cases of United Airlines and SnapChat, you must be particularly careful not to come across as unsympathetic. PR nightmares will invariably happen to any business if your doors are open for long enough. But if you think that you can marginalize large swathes of potential customers, or blame the victims of abuse, you’ve got no place running a business in 2021.