I am a little nervous about writing this and putting it out there for the world to see. This article is about who I am. My opinions, based on my personal beliefs and how I view the world. It isn’t wrong; it isn’t right… it’s just mine. I trust you, and so I’m willing to share.
If you’ve seen or heard me previously, you’ll know I’m anti-bandwagoning; we coined the term ‘bandwagonitis’ when people or brands use an event for the purpose of self-promotion. I usually use this term when I’m thinking of things like Black History Month, Pride, Mental health awareness week, etc., etc.
My argument has always been: use these events and occasions where they have relevance to you or your business, where they have particular meaning to you or represent something that is deeply intertwined within the culture of your business.
Using them just to get airtime is, in my opinion, crass.
In recent weeks, we have found ourselves in a season of heartbreak. Each day as you tune into your news channels (whether that’s TV, an App, social media channels or other), you are hearing the next updates from countries at war.
And people are using that to stand out online.
People, and brands, are looking for the marketing angle.
…and it makes me despair…Newsjacking.
There are stories that break in the news, relevant to you and your brand and yes. Hell yes, you should be using these to your advantage! That advantage means you can add something of benefit to the conversation or be part of the solution.
Why it’s personal to me…
In the late 70s, my mother and grandmother fled a war-torn country, existed in refugee camps, and were given safe haven here in the UK. That process took years from start to finish. I’m grateful to be here writing this, knowing that their lives (and therefore mine and that of my children and grandchildren) could have been very different. Almost 45+ years after arriving in the UK, I still can’t get them to share the reality of their experiences. It’s a story I am desperate to document and tell, and I am respectful that I may never be able to fulfil that wish.
I tell you this because when I hear the stories on the news today, and I see the wave of blue and yellow imagery in my social media feeds. With the promises of action and lack of follow up, I feel angry. I can see where it’s genuine. I can see where it’s meaningless and more about you, less about them. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s you, you mean well. But understand the support needed is going to be required for years.
A family here in the UK chose to give regularly, for years, to support one mother and her daughter in a refugee camp. The support allowed the mother to buy and sell so she could support her child. This wasn’t a handout, it was a hand up. When the opportunity came, that family sponsored them to leave that camp, bring them to the UK and welcomed them into their home. They became an extended family, that extended family offers up some of my most treasured childhood memories.
Quietly and consistently…
So, you won’t be seeing Blue and Yellow versions our brand. You won’t see us adding to the noise of ‘We should all do something!’ We’ll do what we can do quietly and consistently in the background. Scratch that… I will continue to do what I can do quietly and consistently, as I have done for years.
This article is my way of explaining why we won’t be referencing the current situation in our marketing messages. The current situation isn’t something that’s going away anytime soon; if you are looking to offer support and if you are in it for the long haul – I salute you. Let’s stand together. Let’s do it a better way.
And… if you’re feeling a little uncomfortable reading this thinking or realising that you have been adding to the noise but without action. I invite you to do one of two things. Do something or shut the hell up. Instead, use your voice, your presence, your audience to amplify those who are doing something.
Again, this is a personal opinion, not a right or wrong opinion. I share this with you with the trust, love and respect that you will understand where I’m coming from, in the same way I will trust, love and respect your own standpoint.