It’s crazy that as a communications strategist I still cringe at the thought of “special days”. That’s what I call them, Valentine’s day, Thanksgiving day, Christmas day, you name it! And no! I’m not the grinch that stole Christmas, I’m just disappointed in the marketing brouhaha that happens on such days.
So, let me further explain myself using International Women’s day as a case study. The IWD is the last significant day leveraged by content marketers globally and the feedback from women on these campaign concepts and creatives were very disappointing. I can not count the number of spanners, footballs and sneakers I saw on design concepts. I mean what do you really expect as feedback when you create a campaign around women switching on generators on IWD!?
It was such an eye opener and I love that we all have consumers that are very vocal, it gives no room for lazy creatives.
In this article, I have highlighted three content marketing mistakes your brand should avoid on Days like IWD.
(1) DO NOT WRITE AN ARTICLE WITHOUT ANY PRIOR READING ON THE TOPIC
Imagine this scenario; a man goes into a shop, buys his wife a birthday card that says “Happy Birthday Mum” because he couldn’t find a card that had the word “wife” and his excuse for doing this is that his wife is a woman like his mum and he loves her like he loves his mum.
This was the scene a lot of brands created on IWD, some of them had created generic concepts hoping that it will somehow fit anyone who saw it and somehow their lack of research would be covered by the colours on the designs. Some other brands tried to create a new meaning to something that has existed since 1911.
It is so obvious that a lot of content marketers these days do little to no reading and that campaign strategy teams do not make it a necessity for research personnel to be part of their team. The creatives pushed out on IWD confirmed this and it was sad.
How can you possibly be talking about something you have no knowledge about or deep understanding about?
As communications strategists, agencies and brands, your messaging should always be tailored to suit your audience and must be from a place of knowledge and deep understanding.
(2) DO NOT PUSH OUT CREATIVE CONCEPTS JUST BECAUSE…
I remember about 2 years ago, a day to IWD, someone kept calling my phone at 9pm. It was non-stop and a bit worrying; I picked this call just to be asked what “Press For Progress” meant to me. I hate to keep hammering on the time, but this was 9pm! I was also asked to send my picture as I had been chosen as one of the influential figures for the year.
To be honest, I felt honoured, I had spent the year working extremely hard and I wanted people to see all the work Image Boosters was putting in, but that 30% warri side of my heritage was very confused and felt a tad bit insulted that they had left execution on their campaign till the last minute and were putting such pressure on us to help meet their deadline.
Imagine my shock when I realised that some other brands left content curation till the main day. Some women now dread this day as they believe it’s a day where brands exploit their personal brands.
It is therefore important that brands start infusing this in their content calendars and plans for the year.
(3) DO NOT BE DEFENSIVE WHEN WOMEN SPEAK OUT AGAINST YOUR CAMPAIGN CONCEPT
I’ve been in this industry for a while, and only recently decided to be extremely low-key. But I’m still privileged to be in rooms with some of the most influential women, to hear their authentic opinions about some of the things brands do that they see as unacceptable.
As creatives, we can’t always get it right, but we owe it to our audience to always apologise when our content are seen as inappropriate. It’s not the time to debate or explain what you really meant to pass across. If your messaging is not clear from the creative concept and its misinterpreted, please apologise and take it down with urgency.
IWD was not invented for or by brands, if brands want to leverage on it or use it as a marketing ploy for clients, it’s important to be a little more sensitive. It’s important to understand what it’s about, what the theme is about and what this means to women globally.
It’s also important that you encourage your stakeholders to actually care about these women they so desperately want to market to. I know that as creatives, we most times have good intentions that are misinterpreted but my question is, how much thought and work have you put behind your intention?