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After the Pulwama Attack, social media platforms were naturally flooded with very sharp and sentimental views. Most of us were talking about martyrs, their sacrifices, and as a country, the resolve and decisive action that we must take to avenge their deaths. The nation was angry, outraged and these sentiments were not superficial.

Brands, these days, strive to humanize themselves. This is especially true for digital platforms where they want to be a part of the organic conversation. And no marketer really wants to let go of a single opportunity of #momentmarketing in social media. But when it comes to real issues like national policies, politics, or real societal urgencies, brands often play safe.

No easy choices

What do you think brands (i.e. us marketers) should be doing here? I understand as a corporate entity operating in various geographies, it would be difficult for brands, to express such sharp views. But should they operate in a complete silo and pretend as if nothing has happened and continue with their regular content calendar? Or should they not post any update for that matter? Or should the brands go ahead and condemn the attack the way most of their TG has done? And be one of them (humanize the brand in real?).

There are a few brands that have come out and supported the government or military in tangible ways. Paytm made it easier for its users to donate funds, Reliance pulled out from the production of Pakistan Super League. But most of the brands have stuck to the first two ways i.e. of operating in a silo. This may not be the wrong thing to do as their opinion probably won’t have any effect on policies and actions.

Humanizing brand needs action

I am not saying that it’s possible for every brand to contribute in a tangible way. And definitely, just a social media post is not enough. But when the audience gets to see that these same brands come up with interesting stuff to capitalize on moments frequently, it won’t be long when such silence will be considered odd.

If humanizing the brand is the ultimate goal, marketers must not operate in a silo. They must act as the eyes and ears of the organization and relay what’s happening. Try and drive tangible actions – and of course not in haste. And these actions could be positive as well – like contributing to relevant causes that are directly or indirectly related to the frontline.

Do brands need to respond to such real issues (on social media)? Or there’s no merit in doing that? What do you think?

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