In the age of social media, everyone can have their say on everything. And, unfortunately, they generally do.
This is nothing new. People have always had an inherent desire to throw their hat into the ring and have their say - only now, we’ve given them the platform to share it with the world. Terrific.
What is relatively new is the emergence of brands partaking in these conversations. In particular, we’re seeing more and more brands take stances on sociopolitical issues by embracing and celebrating awareness days.
Is this a bad thing? Not at all - big-name brands utilising their global platform to raise awareness of important issues can be an effective means of promoting change. That is, as long as it’s done right.
But here’s the harsh reality: for many brands, this is nothing more than a marketing tactic. One in incredibly poor taste, at that.
That’s why, in today’s post, we’re tackling awareness day content - content created around the topics of annual awareness campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness Week and Earth Day.
With our three-question checklist, you can ensure you’re creating content for the right reasons, properly championing your chosen cause by remaining appropriately sensitive and relatable to those most affected.
Is it for the right reasons?
You may have noticed your social feed is a little more colourful this month. That’s because many brands have embarked on campaigns to celebrate LBGTQ+ Pride.
The easiest way to do this? Launch an alternative version of your logo in the Pride rainbow colour scheme.
Unfortunately, for many brands, this was the start and end of their Pride campaign. This led to accusations of ‘rainbow washing’ - the practice of jumping on the bandwagon during Pride month as a means of generating positive PR.
Obviously, this won’t do. Never place brand image at the forefront of your awareness day campaigns - this will be painfully obvious to consumers, to the inevitable detriment of your brand.
Instead, embrace awareness days for the right reasons, ensuring the focus aligns with your brand’s core values so your contribution to the cause is authentic and meaningful.
Take F1, for example. The global motorsport has been celebrating Pride Month throughout June, with many cars displaying the Pride rainbow. This is despite still hosting races in Russia and Saudi Arabia this season, who still have a lot of work to do on the subject of LBGTQ+ rights. Interesting...
Luckily, Aston Martin still managed to shine through as a brand doing it right. How? Content!
Content can be a super-effective tool for ensuring an authentic awareness campaign. Leverage your content to broadcast the issues at hand, encouraging conversations and demonstrating how you’re playing your part. Exhibit A: this great piece of content from Aston Martin on its plans to “publish a series of content pieces highlighting the strength of the LGBTQ+ community within motorsport” throughout the month.
As a rule of thumb, if you don’t have anything genuine and worthwhile to add to the conversation, don’t get involved.
Is it sensitive?
Which types of content should you look to create when embracing awareness days?
It’ll ultimately depend on the brand and the cause. That being said, there’s one core element you should keep at the forefront of any content creation: sensitivity.
We’ve covered sensitive content marketing in detail before (and you can read all about it here), but sensitivity is arguably never more important than when creating content around social, political and civil issues.
Sensitive content is all about demonstrating awareness and understanding. So, think long and hard about style and tone - does your content reflect the attitudes of the wider cause?
Evaluate the wider social attitudes surrounding awareness campaigns and use this to inspire your content approach - will entertaining content or informational content strike the more appropriate chord?
The power of sensitive content is in its authenticity, so ditch assumptions and generalisations in favour of thorough research around the cause, the history and the audience.
Does it resonate and represent?
Thorough research should give you a solid understanding of your audience.
Remember that, in these instances, your audience extends further than your core community. When creating awareness day content, you’re also embracing the audience invested in your chosen cause.
Consider how this new audience should impact your approach, paying particular attention to style and vocabulary choices. Find a balance of tweaking your voice to represent and resonate with your new audience and maintaining that brand voice that’s distinctly you.
Be cautious of straying towards stereotypes, though. Don’t pigeonhole or patronise your audience by using gimmicky, insincere terms of address or making unfounded assumptions about the way they like to be spoken to. Use colloquialisms and idioms with care - though you may think they’re making your content more current and relatable, these kinds of generalisations often miss the mark.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the purpose of awareness days is to, well, raise awareness! So, focus on ensuring your content can be understood by everyone, maximising your potential reach by championing the key principles of readability: straightforward vocabulary, short sentences and a simple structure.
Misjudging awareness day content can have major implications on your customers’ perception of your brand. For content that always strikes the right chord, why not enlist the help of the professionals? Get in touch with Paragraft today to learn how we can transform your brand’s approach to content creation.