In this post, we’ll dive into creative sensitivity's role in shaping successful digital marketing campaigns. Discover why sensitive marketing matters, examine its influence on audience engagement and learn best practices to navigate the delicate landscape of sensitive marketing skillfully.
Sensitive marketing is about creating and promoting content with care and empathy, especially when dealing with sensitive topics. This might involve:
- Being mindful of cultural differences
- Staying aware of social issues
- Embracing inclusivity
- Practicing environmental responsibility
- Maintaining political neutrality
To succeed in sensitive marketing, it's crucial to understand and respect the diversity within your target audience – recognising and valuing their different opinions, backgrounds, and experiences. The goal is to connect with and keep your audience by appreciating their perspectives and preferences.
Handling sensitive content, especially when link building in a tricky niche, can be challenging. However, when done right, it becomes an integral part of your digital marketing strategy that significantly elevates your brand.
George Lovatt, Junior Content Executive at Reboot, notes:
“As a content writer thorough research and adhering carefully to guidelines is a vital part of producing quality content that will engage and inspire. It is even more important though when dealing with sensitive topics that require greater care.”
Here are a few reasons why sensitive marketing matters:
Writing about sensitive topics with thoughtfulness and compassion builds genuine connections. We’ve previously proven how emotion can help drive your digital PR campaigns. By dedicating time to understanding the feelings and experiences of your audience through research, surveys, and data analytics, you position your brand as a hub for genuine engagement.
Jade Halstead, Marketing Manager at Reboot, notes:
“Cultivating genuine connections with your audience is vital to sustainable brand success. Nurturing your community of loyal brand advocates (especially on social media) ensures ongoing support for your brand over the years.”
What’s more, in creating successful content and PR, through carefully tailored messaging and storytelling, you can communicate your brand’s message more clearly and establish a strong narrative that captivates journalists and influencers alike, making them more likely to share your story.
Inclusivity matters. When an audience sees themselves accurately represented, it strengthens connections. Writing with sensitivity ensures your content mirrors the diversity of your audience and the world in general. It also positions your brand as one that values and respects varied perspectives, with an eye for inclusive storytelling in the media.
Researching sensitive topics and taking the time to create content with respect demonstrates that you care about your audience, and this builds trust. Trust is essential for driving engagement and conversions, making it a vital step in your strategy.
Marketing with sensitivity goes beyond words; it embodies responsibility and commitment, shaping a positive brand image. This positive image resonates with your audience and industry peers, positioning your brand as socially responsible and attuned to diverse needs. Altogether, it minimises the risk of alienating or upsetting your audience, thus protecting your brand reputation.
Ultimately, every brand aspires to establish enduring relationships, be it with customers or clients. Recognising and respecting sensitive topics that resonate with your audience can help to keep conversations going.
This consistent and thoughtful approach in a digital marketing strategy becomes a linchpin for cultivating lasting connections and fostering brand loyalty and advocacy. Jade adds: “Customers want to resonate with brands and their values. By demonstrating sensitivity towards topics they care passionately about, you’ll be strengthening the bond they have with your brand.”
In digital marketing, a big part of the job involves creating content for awareness and national/international days, especially for larger and universal topics, some of which can be sensitive.
A big part of this content creation is creating content or campaigns with a clear purpose, taking care to avoid jumping on trends without genuine commitment or proper research. George adds:
“Although it can be tempting to plough ahead and produce content in as brief a timeframe as possible when dealing with sensitive topics, it is better to give them the time and concern they deserve.
Using language that undermines the seriousness of the topic, for example, risks alienating your readers and undermining the reputation of your company. ”
Let's look at common themes that can be deemed of a sensitive nature, such as health, and discuss how we can ensure our writing remains sensitive and impactful.
When you're working on campaigns for events like World Mental Health Day or National Fitness Day, it's a great opportunity to help people. However, talking about health is highly sensitive, and it's not always clear how to approach it.
When writing about health, focus on showcasing resources for official helplines and support groups in your content. Provide useful information about mental and physical well-being, and make medical language easy to understand to reduce potential anxiety. However, avoid sounding overly authoritative or expert-like.
Alexa Cobbold, Digital PR Account Director at Reboot, comments:
“When generating content related to medical or health topics, you have to ensure you’re not giving out advice unless it originates from a medically trained professional.
Maintain a top-level overview and consistently reference the source of any original data used. Utilising case studies, particularly for sensitive topics, can be helpful too. Anonymising individuals in these case studies is an option to respect privacy and demonstrate sensitivity to the topic.”
Approach sensitive occasions like Mother's Day, Father's Day, or even International Friendship Day with care. Create content that acknowledges a wide range of experiences and relationships. For instance, on Father's Day, aim for inclusivity by crafting content that celebrates various male figures, including stepdads, grandfathers, uncles, or mentors, not just the stereotypical “Dad”.
Consider developing content related to events like Careers Week and Workplace Wellbeing Day. To ensure your content reflects the diversity of today's working world, it's essential to promote work-life balance and emphasise the significance of well-being and mental health in the workplace. This could look like providing practical tips on maintaining balance, managing stress, and cultivating a positive workplace culture.
When considering content creation for highly sensitive topics like bullying or events such as Pride Month, Black History Month, International Women's Day, and Days of Persons with Disabilities, it's crucial to have a clear and strong purpose.
Avoid creating content around sensitive topics for the wrong reasons, something we explored in our blog 'Should Brands Use Pride as a Marketing Campaign?', examining the potential downsides of brands engaging in sensitive topics solely for their gain.
If you decide to create content for events like these, do so with care. Share stories, experiences, and achievements from individuals within the communities you are highlighting. Let these voices take centre stage in your content, ensuring authentic representation.
Subjects like the environment and sustainability can be contentious, especially in today's context. However, these topics are prevalent in our media and challenging to overlook, making it essential for us to find ways to engage with them.
One approach is to simplify complex topics during events like Earth Day, breaking them down into easily understandable and actionable information. Provide practical tips for sustainable living and highlight positive actions individuals, organisations, or communities take.
Given the ongoing cost of living crisis, it's important to write about financial care issues. Many people are facing financial hardships, so it helps to use examples that everyone can understand. Talk about how regular families are dealing with higher costs by adjusting their budgets.
By using relatable situations in your content, readers are more likely to connect emotionally with people's difficulties.
When addressing sensitive content, it's helpful to apply best practices. Here are some to consider and follow:
Understand the purpose of your content. Approach it with compassion, respect, and appropriateness to create a meaningful impact and establish that all-important connection with your audience.
Nike nailed it with their powerful International Women's Day ad. The message was crystal clear: through images and voices of women saying, "One day, we won't need this day," Nike aimed to convey a future where International Women's Day becomes obsolete because gender equality has been achieved.
Moreover, the message ensures inclusivity by featuring diverse women from various ethnic backgrounds wearing Nike sportswear. This not only celebrates the brand's mission but also resonates with its diverse consumer base.
One day, together, we will make this our every day. pic.twitter.com/jpTVQi2LKP— Nike (@Nike) March 8, 2020
Researching sensitive topics acts as your shield against stereotypes, inaccuracies, or unintentional biases. The more in-depth your initial research, the more accurate your portrayal of the subject matter, leading to greater success in your content.
If you discover a compelling story during your research, “focus on the facts, minimise emotional content, and strive for a balanced presentation”, notes Alexa.
James Sweeney, Senior Content Executive at Reboot, adds:
“The key to writing these types of articles is to present facts as clearly as possible, avoiding subjectivity and only offering personal observations that relate directly to the data.
By doing this, you'll be able to cover the topic accurately, highlight the main issues, and allow the reader to formulate their own opinion on the facts at hand.”
Research also pays when it comes to deciding whether to engage in a reactive campaign. A balance needs to be struck between leveraging current events for creative and reactive DPR, capitalising on tending news, and being mindful of the people impacted by the story. Always question, does it make sense for us (or our client) to write about this?
Being inclusive and embracing diversity involves thinking carefully about the language used. This is important in digital marketing, especially when creating content or press releases of a sensitive nature.
It’s not just a legal concern, ensuring the content we write doesn’t land us in hot water with the law; it’s about maintaining sensitivity.
In terms of language, concentrate on delivery and tone to ensure your message resonates universally and is open to everyone. Some tips include using neutral and cautious language, avoiding exaggeration, and checking your tenses. Alexa adds: “Keep paragraphs short, snappy, and to the point and always bear the right terminology in mind.”
“Writing about niche, often sensitive topics comes with its unique challenges. While it's essential to have strong, up-to-date knowledge of your subject, the language you use is particularly important when discussing sensitive issues.
While certain adjectives may work great in most articles, they may appear one-sided or insensitive when used in the context of certain political or societal topics.”
Dove did a great job promoting body positivity by using language powerfully. They made a Facebook app that lets users switch out negative ads with positive messages. The idea was to replace content that might make people feel bad with words that make them feel beautiful instead. The ad was so successful Dove reported that 71% of women felt more beautiful because of the campaign!
Make it a habit to review and revise your content regularly, and embrace feedback with openness. Sharing your work, particularly when addressing sensitive topics, can offer valuable insights from various perspectives. This enriches your writing and helps maintain a balance between sensitivity and impact. Peer review exercises can be beneficial in this process.
In the fast-paced world of social media, handling sensitive topics can pose an even bigger challenge.
To assist in navigating this challenging landscape with care, we’ve compiled some quickfire tips on how to manage sensitive topics on socials:
Research and analyse your audience demographics.
Identify their preferences, values, and potential triggers.
Tailor your content to resonate with your audience's sensitivities.
Acknowledge mistakes openly and take responsibility.
Demonstrate a commitment to learning and improvement.
Establish trust by being transparent about your intentions and actions.
Alert your audience before sharing potentially distressing content.
Provide a brief, non-graphic description of the sensitive topic.
Respect your audience's autonomy by allowing them the choice to engage or not.
Collaborate with individuals who share your commitment to sensitivity.
Leverage influencers and advocates to amplify your message authentically.
Foster partnerships that align with the values of your sensitive content.
Establish a consistent tone across your social media platforms.
Apply sensitivity guidelines uniformly to all content.
Reinforce your commitment to sensitivity through regular messaging.
In conclusion, the art of navigating sensitive content is an evolving process, an ongoing commitment to deepening our understanding and refining our skills. So let’s be mindful, follow best practices, and approach awareness days and events with sensitivity - because, in the world of digital marketing, every word matters.