To Respond or Not Respond?

We were saddened to hear the news of Robin Williams’ passing. It’s always tragic to lose anyone, especially one as talented as him. Blessed with the rare gift to make his audiences laugh as quickly as he made them cry, he brought much joy to many people.

In the event of a tragedy, death or otherwise, many brands feel a need to speak out about it, but many flub in the process or the effort falls short. If, as a brand, you are going to respond to a situation, ask yourself three things before you move forward:

  1. Is the response authentic?
  2. Do we have ulterior motives for posting? (i.e., is this just a ploy to get more engagement?)
  3. Does this align with our target audience?

If your answer is no to any of the above questions, just post from your personal account instead. If this issue doesn’t resonate with your brand’s audience, it could fall flat or backfire.

For brands that responded to the tragic loss of Robin Williams, we won’t bother highlighting the ones who responded inappropriately, because it devalues his comedic gift and life. However, we will highlight those who got it right:

1. The Academy of Motion Pictures: academy12. Rolling Stone’s Feature: rollingsonte 3. Conan O’Brien’s Live Tribute


These brands are directly connected to Williams in one way or another, making the tributes relevant and sincere. Many others paid authentic homage to the late comedian, and they will see increased brandy loyalty because of it.

When tragedy occurs, respond appropriately and authentically. But when in doubt, respond personally.


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