Most people are spending so much time on social media during the world-wide lockdowns and it has been such a polarizing topic if marketing efforts should cease for such non-essential products.
For at least a month now, the coronavirus crisis has shut down almost every industry in most countries across the globe. That of course did not spare the photography and tech industry as almost all expos and exhibitions, even everyday retail of cameras, computers, and accessories have been shut down by this pandemic.
As the world is frozen still by this crisis, many people are calling brands that continue their digital marketing efforts as “tone deaf” a term re-appropriated to pertain to people who do not seem to make adjustments in observance of such events. But should they really have to tone down?
The Consumer Perspective
At first, I myself cringed at the sight of social media posts by different camera, lens, or other tech related brands about new products that they just launched or simply just regular everyday marketing of existing products. From the perspective of someone whose livelihood has been put on hold, much like other photographers, seeing some digital marketing campaigns from such brands left a bitter taste in the mouth at first. Many people are suffering, many people don’t have work, many people barely have enough food and supplies to last a few more weeks.
In my country where majority of the cities have been put on community quarantine measures, malls have been closed for a month, and even if you had the spare cash to buy a new camera, a new lens, or a new computer, it would be really hard to find a store open or even one that would ship it to you. It seemed pointless why these brands are resuming marketing operations as if nothing big was going on in the world.
The Other Side of the Coin
It didn’t take long to realize that while many people agree with the earlier argument, it may be sensible to think of the perspective of the brands and companies involved. The simplest way to see it clearly is to realize the fact that these companies, their social media accounts with millions in following, their thousands of stores worldwide, they are all manned by people. These people also eat and most likely have families to support. While we empathize with all the people suffering in the world, it is also important to open our eyes to multiple realities of different people.
Their side of the industry has also shut down and marketing may be the only functional arm of their companies that are able to function at this time. Investments in the recently canceled shows and expos around the world are basically in limbo, and obviously sales have gone down to the bare minimum if not, none at all. Amidst all these, assuming that these companies are taking care of their people, the brands are supporting their employees and as soon as the world recovers from this crisis, they would have to make up for the losses and compensate in sales. These simple social media posts are just little investments for the future, in the same way that many freelancers are actively seeking new clients right now for when the lock downs are over.
Many notable brands have also re-directed funding towards helping the world at this difficult time. Sony, for example, has donated a hundred million dollars to help in the battle. Of course, Fujifilm has been credited greatly for the development of a potential cure, and certainly in the local levels, these brands have contributed to the communities around them.
This worldwide crisis is affecting people from all walks of life and it is a time of sensitivity to our fellowmen. But with this sensitivity should also come an open mind for such polarizing issues. What do you think? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.