Does your brand feel the need to be relevant and contribute to the news making headlines in the country? If this is the case, there are a few things that as a brand you should keep in mind before engaging in the social media conversation. In the wake of the Westgate attacks and other issues affecting Kenya and the world beyond, organizations may be tempted to form an opinion and tell it to their audience. The best advice from a PR perspective is if your organization is not directly affected by what is going on, say nothing about it. This is because your brand will be seen as merely opinionated instead of a source of authority on the subject.
If you are going to post news, there are a few things you should know. The news posted should affect either people based in your county or area of operations and a good majority of your customers. It should also be a build up of something you have been talking about as a brand. If you are a children’s rights organization you can join the conversation about how children, especially girls, are increasingly having their rights violated in society and the judicial laxity in punishing offenders. In such a case it would be necessary for your brand to speak out for if you do not, you could come across as insensitive or untimely.
Another thing to consider is whether the content is self promotional. Though Safaricom rallied funds to pay for the medical expenses incurred during the Westgate attach, there is money made out of this; remember there is a charge for sending money through Mpesa. Though this may not have been intentional, Safaricom did stand to gain from this corporate social responsibility. Be sure before posting news that you are not boosting your brand image, product or service. Get a neutral third party to give you a second opinion.
Don’t merely say you are ‘Sorry for those affected by the tragedy…’ because everyone else is saying it. When it comes to personal matters, brands are often seen as insincere even when they are not. If you are sorry and want to make a difference, donate something. Also, before posting anything on your sites, ensure that it does not coincide with current news or events especially if it is promotional material; you will just appear opportunistic. Though Kenya Power has managed to inconvenience us almost on a weekly basis, running ads and content about your ‘convenient and cost saving’ generators can be seen as more opportunistic though relevant.
Finally, to emphasize on the point initially made: is that post really necessary? What would Naivas, Uchumi or Ukwala have to say about the looting at Westgate with KDF officers carrying Nakumatt paper bags?
Happy Mashujaa Day to all.