5 questions brands should ask themselves before posting about the news

When a disaster happens or as the anniversary of a catastrophe approaches, it may seem like commenting is the right thing to do. Sometimes, silence is best.

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When brands do this, it can come across as forced, at best, or offensive, at worst. The line between appropriate and inappropriate is a thin one, best evidenced by recaps of brands trying to commemorate 9/11 this year.

Real-time marketing requires a deft hand, balancing the benefits of participating in conversations your customers are having with the potential damage done by content that’s more concerned with the brand than with its audience.

More often than not, saying nothing is the best move. If you feel the need for your brand to say something about a news-driven event, ask yourself these five questions before you do:

1. Does the event directly affect your brand or its consumers?

An event that’s a conversation of interest for your consumers—or one they’re watching unfold through breaking news—isn’t necessarily one for your brand. Whether it’s relevant for you will depend on three factors:

People: Does the event directly affect the city where you’re based, the people who work for you or a majority of your consumers? Then it’s relevant and directly affects your brand.

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