Every year on the anniversary of 9/11, brands and businesses somehow get it into their profit-driven heads that using a national tragedy to build customer loyalty is a really, really good idea. And they inevitably tweet something utterly crass and tasteless.
This year, Verizon did the absolute right thing:
Every brand should pay attention to this: Too often, businesses try to use our collective sorrow or a national tragedy to sell us products. And it's almost always terrible:
Sometimes brands do share poignant, relatively tasteful tributes. But even then, it doesn't feel like a real sentiment: It feels fake and cloying, an attempt to jump on a moment of collective agony to boost engagement on Twitter. Remember, corporate brands have Twitter accounts for the strategic purpose of reaching customers and upping their visibility.
With that in mind, any tweet from a brand has an element of promotion. However well-meant, 9/11 memorial tweets from companies just don't feel right.
And you know what? Their followers notice:
We said this when Digiorno Pizza accidentally hijacked the #WhyIStayed hashtag (and, to their credit, did a great job apologizing): Do us all a favor and stop tweeting about unrelated stuff. The weirder the corporate Twitter account, the more terrible. And it's probably not driving sales anyway.
On 9/11, everyone is remembering the tragedy and the victims. Brands don't need to remind us — and they certainly don't need to advance their corporate strategies off of our collective pain.