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The unprecedented pandemic and current cultural conversations have transformed the way businesses communicate. While consumers adjust to our new normal, companies continue to pivot to align with ongoing developments in our ever-changing climate. For marketers, this means being highly aware of messaging sensitivities. Marketers are expected to proceed with caution, striking just the right tone to acknowledge what is happening in the world without being disingenuous. But today, perception moves at the speed of light and so must our messages. Unfortunately, many companies have created muddled and even insensitive messaging that fails to resonate with the masses. Now more than ever, consumers are holding companies accountable for these missteps.

Here are examples of naming and messaging mistakes from brands and the lessons we can learn from them.

Fear-based Marketing: Tom Brady’s Protect

Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady received backlash for the recent release of a poorly named product from his TB12 supplement line. Brady launched his latest immunity blend called Protect, claiming it would support a healthy immune system. The brand received instant criticism for exploiting coronavirus fears. To audiences, it appeared that Brady was capitalizing on consumers’ apprehensions for profit. Even if the product was conceived pre-pandemic, the name and messaging were poorly timed. Fear-based marketing is a tactic to entice consumers to respond and act swiftly. However, in times of crisis and intense challenges, marketing should not scare. Messages should uplift and inspire. Before launching your business or product in a precarious marketplace, consult a team or poll an audience. This can provide needed insights to sentiment you weren’t aware existed.

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