Marketing During and After a Disaster: Are You Making the Wrong Moves?

By Sarah Etter

January 16, 2013

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Times posed an important question for marketers: What is the difference between appropriate efforts that are perceived as public service and inappropriate efforts that are demonized as capitalizing on bad news?

Beyond the tragedies associated with the “superstorm,” this debate reached a fevered pitch after Sandy hit the East Coast, as companies like American Apparel were lambasted for insensitive storm-related campaigns. But some companies handled the Hurricane Sandy aftermath with an excellent combination of charity and humanity, winning over current fans and generating interest from new ones.

Jason GoldbergWe asked Jason “Retailgeek” Goldberg, Vice President of Strategy, Razorfish, which company had the most effective marketing communications after Hurricane Sandy, and why.

“I’d point to Uniqlo’s “United in Warmth” campaign as a good example of a post-Hurricane Sandy response,” says Goldberg.

Let’s take a look at the Uniqlo campaign:

sandy relief_uniqlo email

Why was this campaign a winner?

“They donated their own products, their employees’ time, and encouraged their customers to volunteer or donate as well,” says Goldberg. “They were able to nicely tie in their brand, and legitimately help victims in a way that felt authentic to Uniqlo customers.”

Do you know what your brand should stand for in the wake of a disaster or tragedy?

Download a free eBook, Lessons from Sandy: 12 Examples and 9 Experts Help Shape Your Email Messaging, to find out which moves every company should make post-disaster, including more exclusive insight from Goldberg, plus the perspectives of Mitch Joel, Sam Decker, Bryan Eisenberg, and other marketing pros.

Sarah Etter is the former the senior editor at Monetate. Before joining Monetate, she was a writer for various online and print publications, and served as the associate editor of The Internet & Marketing Report newsletter. Sarah also loves fiction writing and ice hockey... yes, ice hockey.

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