Online advertising in a crisis or disaster
For the most part, advertising is done for financial gain on the part of both the advertiser and the publisher. The advertiser is looking to drum up more business by strategically placing ads on sites where their target audience might congregate. The publisher looks to benefit from showing ads that will be of interest to his or her visitors. There are times, though, when advertising can take on a different tone, and this usually occurs when some sort of crisis or disaster hits. People want to help, and advertising is just one way to raise funds or get the message out about helping those in need. Here are some things to consider when advertising in a crisis.
Consider timing and geographical location
There is no time to waste when a crisis or disaster hit because lives can often hang in the balance during these times. It is speed that might decide just how many people are rescued. If you are going to advertise to help raise awareness or raise funds during a crisis, then you need to get the ball rolling quickly. While people from all over may want to help, you will often find that it is the people in the specific region affected and nearby areas will be the most responsive to calls for action.
There is a very fine line between helping in an emergency situation and trying to profit from it. If it even appears as though you are trying to profit from a horrible situation, you may end up doing irreparable damage to your business. The crisis or disaster will eventually end, but the bad feeling about how you did business during that time will linger on in the minds of the individual consumer.
One of the best ways to avoid any confusion about your intention during these times is to show goodwill. This can come in several different forms, with the most obvious being some sort of freebie or discount. You may also want to consider donating a portion of your earnings to the disaster relief efforts.
Another good way to operate during a crisis is to use your ad space to help those in need. This could mean providing updates on what is happening, as well as providing information that will help people stay safe and alert during troubled times. This is advertising as a public service to others.
Lead the recovery effort
Rather than trying to inspire people to buy, use your advertising efforts as a way to inspire them to help other and rebuild the community. Think about ways in which you can get the local community to chip in and help. This could be in the form of organizing clean-ups, creating fundraising events, or asking for donations and volunteers, all of which will aid the recovery effort. It is human nature to want to help, but people often don’t know where to go to do so. This is your opportunity to lead them and steer them in the right direction and at the same time, build a positive brand image.
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