September 11 is probably the most socially sensitive day of the year and without fail, we see countless brands post memorial photos and never-forget homages about the tragic events. More often than not, though, these posts come off as a tasteless attempt at jumping into the conversation.
On our Social Sensitivity Scale, 9/11 comes in at a strong 5 out of 5. This scale rates how cautious you should be when posting on behalf of a brand on that holiday. For more information on this series, go here.
As a brand manager, you have to stop and think, “Is this part of my brand and should we participate in the conversation?” Here at EPIC Creative®, we’ve asked this question and, in this instance, the answer is almost always an emphatic no. This is because our client roster currently doesn’t comprise of any New York-based companies, they don’t have any September 11-centric philanthropic outlets and mostly because, common sense.
After a brief discussion, our team came up with two types of brands that would be okay in participating in this conversation:
- City of New York Fire and Police Departments
- Fundraising organizations and non-profits supporting the victim’s families
That’s about it.
Brands will continue to make the mistake and place their logo on a picture where the trade centers once stood. Most everyone old enough to remember the event can retrace their steps from that day, so it makes sense that we get emotional and want to join in the conversation. But it’s our job as brand managers to make the distinction and decide whether or not it’s the right conversation for our brand.
So, in conclusion: Don’t do it.