Social media is changing the way we express our shock and sadness for the passing of celebrities. On April 21, 2016 the world paid homage to one of the greatest pop music legends, Prince. People, organizations, companies and brands all used the social media channels to express their grief, shock and condolences. Personally, I found out about Prince’s death from twitter.
Why do we do it?
In my opinion we want to be a part of a relationship with people or a community. You want to join in the conversation of outpouring of grief, sadness and shock.
Can using social media to pay homage hurt or help your brand?
As a business your aim on social media is to form relationships with people by engaging. Just like in my previous article (“Educate or Engage” posted April 11, 2016) the key word here is “engaging”. Brands can and should tweet honoring or paying tribute to a celebrity. The fine line is not to capitalize on it. It is more about brand reputation then brand awareness.
Not every brand managed it well. Some tweets where tastefully done while others were just downright bad marketing, or opportunistic and were later deleted.
Cheerios tweeted then deleted.
While Chevrolet was really appreciated and acclaimed by people on twitter.
3M brand on the other hand made it more about them and their brand.
Should pharmaceutical companies use social media to pay homage?
In my opinion, yes. Even though it may have nothing to do about their products but it does make you human and a part of the world conversation. When done correctly you can really connect with people.
Did any pharmaceutical company pay tribute?
I decided to do a little research to see if any tweets went out from pharmaceutical companies paying tribute to Prince.
The companies analyzed included the following:
Merck & Co.
Johnson & Johnson
From this very long list, I found that only Lilly had a post paying tribute to Prince.
Was Lilly’s tweet done “tastefully”?
In my opinion no. It appears that someone had paid tribute to Prince by writing on some sort of wall that Lilly was sponsoring. Lilly then took that to twitter, with a very unusual post reading “a timely tribute to #Prince” and “can we get that in purple?” Hey Lilly are you just using the hashtag of the moment, so that you can increase your chances of getting noticed by many people? What you post about people says more about you then you actually realize. What do you want to get in purple? And timely? I would say late. You posted it on April 23rd.
Whereas the tweet below from Lilly was spot on maybe because this celebrity relates to a product?
Participating in the paying tribute conversation is an excellent way for pharmaceutical companies to “humanize”. It has nothing to do about their products but it does make you human and a part of the world discussion.