How were you to know dear Jenny’s mum died one week before the modern celebration of motherhood?
With dreams of knocking over KPIs for anything pink and fluffy, and resetting sales records of vanilla candles, the Farmers marketing department delivered this Mother’s Day promotional email to some of their most valued customers. Its jarring subject line caused backlash, requiring an apologetic follow-up (good on them for a fast response).
So much of retail’s magic is in spreading the joy – make the people happy and they’ll build positive associations with your brand, revisiting to spend their money on your products every time they need a pick-me-up.
The thing is, you can’t ensure your sentiments are bringing joy to all who receive them. There’s no crystal ball on your desk – subdividing your list of snappy tagline ideas and brainstorming whiteboard - which can ring in every person’s perspective, ever.
Even with the wizardry of technology, there doesn’t exist a tick-box analytic to divide those with happy mother-child relationships and those on the cynical side of this celebration. As marketers, the best we can do is change our thinking.
Empathy and tolerance are a good place to start – having a heart and thinking beyond your own circumstance. What situations do your friends/colleagues find themselves in? How do you think Jim down the road would feel? And can you also imagine the feelings of people faced with the exact opposite life status to all of those examples you answered just now?
Approaching any topic with an open mind, and seeking perspective from a range of people is essential exploration for any marketing team.
Sharing anything is a trecherous zone. Sharing nothing is even worse.
When even a bright Mother’s Day well-wishing risks causing pain and criticism, what else can be said but –
“You can’t please everyone. You’re not a jar of Nutella.”