I’ve reread Bob Garfields article “Suffer in Silence” a few times since it was posted.
Short version: Garfield’s piece is a call to brands, cautioning them to restrain from inserting themselves into news stories about the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school.
Within the piece, he offers examples of a few brands that have hijacked other tragedies, to garner press for themselves.
The following is one of the comments posted in response to Garfield’s piece:
“Let’s take a break and focus on the people who do good deeds, maybe just for a week or so, if we can, please.”
Rather than reading more examples of brands doing the wrong thing, the commenter wanted stories of brands doing the right thing.
Those good deeds? They’re often paired with tight lips. If actions are taken to help others, they go unpublicized.
The brands/individuals act on their own, because it is the right thing to do, not because they’ll get a spread in People magazine.
And you know what? The brands/individuals keeping their mouths shut end up with stronger consumer relationships than do the ones taking out full-page ads in the New York Times, to share how wonderful they are. There’s a special respect given to those willing to help without guaranteed recognition in return.
For 2013 (and for however long the Mayans continue to be wrong about the end of the world…): If you decide to take action, do as Garfield suggested, and “Please, not a word.” If you want to send supplies, money, books, whatever it is, do it, but restrain from sending out a press release. Do it because it is the right thing to do, and not because it is the thing that will garner you a ton of good press.