They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
So why are advertisers continually listening to activists who want to hurt their promoted brand, when it’s their customers who buy their brand that count?
The recent dust-up with Sean Hannity and his show’s advertisers is an example of traditional thinking gone silly.
It started with Mr. Hannity’s “fair and balanced” approach regarding Judge Moore, giving the accused the benefit of the doubt. In response to this rather reasonable journalistic deportment, Judge Moore’s detractors then organized a boycott against Mr. Hannity’s advertisers and put into motion actions on those who dare to place advertisements on the show that bears his name.
Hannity’s critics have every right to ask advertisers to boycott his show. It’s the American way. However, it’s the advertisers who need to be the adults in the room and address this basic question: “what about the customers who watch Hannity?” Are we (the advertisers) alienating these valuable viewers (customers) thus affecting sales, as a result of the few vocal protestors who may or may not belong to one’s client segment? If only advertisers worried more about their customers and less about activists, their world would be a better, saner place.
According to Business Insider in their November 15, 2017, article “Here's how advertisers have responded to Hannity's coverage of the Roy Moore allegations,” many brands will not be advertising with Hannity.
Marketers tailor brands with television programs consistent with the other’s profiles. It’s what they do. With this in mind, after crunching the numbers the most efficient, intelligent media buy for these brands was the "Hannity" show on Fox News.
For those brands who decided to leave Hannity, they may, in fact, be hurting their long-term sales.
As the saying goes, “they may be cutting off their nose to spite their face.” The question is "who is the advertiser’s customers? Are they Hannity viewers or activists who planned the boycott?" The answer is evident for every marketer not involved in the crisis, but not so clear-cut for those in the middle of the storm.
It is for this reason that when a PR disaster occurs, it may be the time that the advertiser takes a deep breath and address this basic marketing tenet: it’s not about you, it’s rather all about your customers.
For the skittish who want a more measured traditional response to crisis management, there’s always the Public Relations announcement which states something like “an appreciation for the concerns and rights of all Americans, especially those of all our customers is always our goal….”
Again, it cannot be emphasized enough the importance of customers in any hullabaloo. There is always the temptation to veer off into a communications black hole, which considers the messaging issues without regard to the profitable segments that it affects.
Or said another way, it’s the marketing that counts and not a reflexive gesture that will do long-term damage to the brand. Winning the battle and losing the war is not an option when running a business or for brand longevity. It’s losing your customer forever that is really at stake.
Brand managers must implement strategies that protect their cherished customers today. They must insulate their customers from those trying to cause havoc in the marketplace. Responding to the echo chamber of negative feedback generated from advocates, friends, and colleagues in certain social circles isn’t an option. It is this customer-oriented strategy which must be implemented by anyone who values the marketing concept, "it’s not about you, it’s rather all about your customer."
In his book, “The Divided Era— How We Got Here and the Keys to America's Reconciliation,” Tom Del Beccaro describes this period that we now live.
If Del Beccaro is correct, advertisers must be ever vigilant to satisfy the needs of customers and not the public as a result of how divided we are as a nation and in branding terms —market. This acknowledgment means knowing the needs of one’s customers and continually delivering what they want. A must for every marketer in America.
The period of being loved by the public is over. An idea forever lost in time. And, it’s why Public Relations as a discipline may need to be reconsidered. One idea: a name change to Targeted Relations. This name change would allow a change in focus and allow marketers to think clearly about the issue — customers.
And one last reminder for those who want to succeed in this challenging milieu — it is always easier when you have marketing in mind.
Today’s Marketing & Branding Lens Thought
“If you want to be trusted, be honest.”
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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