Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance - Summer 2020 - Page 9

SALES DISTANCING Practice Sales Distancing Like the rest of you, this crisis has me glued to my phone. Not only are we taking in every news alert and every new health recommendation, we’re working remotely and attempting to keep business running. It’s an insane amount of highly intense information to process. Which is why poorly timed ads are much more likely to piss me off. It’s time for every brand to cancel their marketing automation. Here’s an example. A Ladder Insurance ad popped up in my Instagram feed a couple days ago. It’s a picture of a father and son in an airport security line. The message is you don’t have to put your life on hold to buy Ladder Insurance. In an ordinary time, this ad’s worst sin is that it’s boring. In an extraordinary time —say, when airport lines are clogged with people returning from overseas, and the very idea of standing in a crowd makes you shudder—this ad is almost offensive. Funny a week ago does not equal funny now. That’s just one example, and it’s so easy to fix. Just cancel your automation, right? But there are other companies committing worse brand sins. Lucky Brand, a clothing store based out of L.A., e-blasted me with this headline: “Trip cancelled? Stay-cay > Vacay”. The email has a photo of a bed with the word “getaway” crossed out and replaced with “staycation.” Setting aside how horrible the word “staycation” is all by itself, the tonedeafness of this ad is almost unreal. Our current global crisis and the isolation of people all over America and the world isn’t a “staycation”—it’s an uneasy new reality that we’re all navigating together. Overtly salesy or pushy messages like this represent the easiest way for a brand to do themselves in. Instead, every brand needs to take a page from my friend Carrie Trabue of Carrington Legal’s playbook. She runs a legal recruiting firm and recruits head counsel for all kinds of organizations. She sent a thoughtful email to her list about how to effectively conduct screening interviews via videoconferencing. That’s helpful —a lot of companies are adjusting to a new long-distance reality. Do you need help crafting an authentic message that isn’t tone deaf during a crisis? Let’s chat! + Deb Gabor is the founder of Sol Marketing, a consultancy that has led successful strategy engagements since 2003 for global brands like Dell, Microsoft, and NBCUniversal, and for numerous digital brands, including Allrecipes, Cheezburger, HomeAway, and many more. A leading expert on brand disasters, she is the author of Branding Is Sex: Get Your Customers Laid and Sell the Hell out of Anything, and Irrational Loyalty: Building A Brand That Thrives In Turbulent Times. Deb has been featured in USA Today and other major publications. A displaced Midwesterner, Deb currently lives in Austin, Texas, but travels frequently to help her clients build bulletproof brands. DebGabor.com 9