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Marta Miranda
– Branded Content Specialist & Producer –

The latest events in Ukraine impacted, first and foremost, the emotional management of all entrepreneurs in their daily professional activity.

Within Influence Marketing, for example, some Portuguese influencers were the target of sarcasm on social networks, from other emblematic figures, due to their disrespect towards the events in Ukraine.

Influencers continued to publish, without sensitivity or empathy, their “looks of the day” and their events, instead of using their voices and platforms to encourage the wave of solidarity that was soon felt in our community.

There are new brands with deferred launches because, in fact, it makes no sense for them to act as if we are not all witnessing a tragic global crisis that is happening within close proximity to our businesses.

Marta Miranda
– Branded Content Specialist & Producer –

The latest events in Ukraine impacted, first and foremost, the emotional management of all entrepreneurs in their daily professional activity.

Within Influence Marketing, for example, some Portuguese influencers were the target of sarcasm on social networks, from other emblematic figures, due to their disrespect towards the events in Ukraine.

Influencers continued to publish, without sensitivity or empathy, their “looks of the day” and their events, instead of using their voices and platforms to encourage the wave of solidarity that was soon felt in our community.

There are new brands with deferred launches because, in fact, it makes no sense for them to act as if we are not all witnessing a tragic global crisis that is happening within close proximity to our businesses.

As a brand, how should we then act?

In a recent article, we addressed the importance of content strategies (Content Marketing) in terms of their relevance, whether through entertainment narratives or by their informative and educational nature.

Therefore, Marketing can and should educate consumers. It can strengthen brands by driving them in the right direction.

Followers of a brand will recognize its value through the content they choose to post. And this generates engagement and relationship, both positively, as well as being able to trigger an image crisis (with the aggravation of the ease of a bad practice going viral on social networks).

It is increasingly easy to digitally generate negative repercussions on a misinterpreted advertising campaign: some brands, not on purpose, have taken advantage of the context of the 9/11 disaster to advertise their markets.

For example, a Brazilian creative agency launched the campaign for the WWF brand – World Wild Life – in which it minimized the events of 9/11 in the face of natural disasters recorded in the period: “The Tsunami killed 100 times more people than September 11, 2001. The planet is extremely powerful. Respect it. Preserve it.”

Campanha WWFSource: Propmark – Campanha WWF

It’s been a while since brands were judged only by the type of product they sold. Brands today are analyzed as a whole, by an increasingly demanding consumer (regardless of the age group).

People want brands to join causes. They want brands (individual or collective) to be transparent and ethically responsible for their practices; and share their actions in solidarity with communities. After all, they want brands to show empathy and not live within a “bubble” disconnected from real events and only concerned with their profits.

The last two years have served as an example, with the ongoing pandemic, to see how brands had to adapt their contents (advertising campaigns and social media posts) to the reality that was experienced at the time, subject to the various types of sanitary restrictions with their social implication.

The contents promoted social distancing, the use of the mask and a lot of entertainment to encourage people to stay at home. Similarly, the brands allocated areas of their industrial production to the mass production of medical supplies, improved their e-commerce markets and adopted the home office within their corporate midst.

A matter of empathy

It is certain that consumption has not stopped, nor should it stagnate for the sake of the economy and the general subsistence. But what consumers expect (and “press”) is that brands they trust, especially in times of crisis, can manifest their position of performance (if applicable) and guide consumers through the content they advertise, without being only concerned with promoting sales (as if customers were thoughtless “robots”).

Brands cannot be “deaf” since they also live in society. There is not much room for the multiplication of decisions regarding the best way brands act if we focus on the word empathy; empathy for all forms of life, and in all cultures that are caught off guard in a catastrophe.

While there are brands that prefer to silence themselves to measure the next steps, others are repositioning themselves making decisions faster. By looking specifically at the current case of the behaviour of brands as forms of expression in the face of the war that is being lived in Ukraine, we have seen performances by some who decide to express their positions openly.

We see the colors of the logos of the brands now have the colors of the Ukrainian Flag (including brands that are based in Russia – for example, in the case of the Instagram page of the Hypermarket Auchan Russia where you can see the logo adapted).

We have seen the involvement in solidarity actions that promptly publicize on the pages of social networks. We see support through the provision of certain zero-cost services that may be useful to families living in Ukraine; and more recently, tend to support the businesses of newly arrived Ukrainian professionals to Portugal.

Major global brands – such as Netflix, TikTok, Apple, Land Rover, Disney or fashion brands such as Prada, Burberry, Zara and H&M – are even going further by announcing the closure of their activities in Russia.

Regardless of the brand positioning, more or less silent, we live in a time when the content strategy must be conscious, relevant and sensitive.  The decision of some brands to report the postponement of collection releases is predictable.

We are not at a time when we want to celebrate new projects. However, investing at this time in communication about good practices to the local community becomes more relevant and will (in)directly positively impact a business both in the present and in the future.

It is always a good time to communicate good practices of social responsibility; more sustainable productions; solidarity donations to institutions or voluntary actions. Regardless of its volume, it is the (good) intention that counts. It’s always a good time. But doing it now, has a bigger impact!