It seems that for every story about the actual threat of a medical scare, there are three stories about scammers trying to take advantage of the situation by preying upon the fears of others. The scariest part of all is how seemingly easy it is to start a scam, make a quick buck, and sneak out the side door before anyone knows what is going on.
For businesses attempting to use public paranoia as an emotional pain point to press for marketing advantages, pressing too hard can squeeze the life out of your opportunities. When those messages get displayed on outdoor signs for all the area to see, the paranoia becomes a double-edged sword for the marketing campaign as well as the business’s future.
Businesses expecting to be around for longer than the next commercial break should seek caution when trying to ride the wave of public paranoia. It can be a dangerous, sometimes unconscionable game. The more unrelated the business is to the story, the greater the paranoia.
If the product / service doesn’t adequately provide solutions associated to public paranoia, it is only a matter of short, sweet time before the backlash follows. Even if the product does help provide a measurable utility, the utility has to match the ability to quench the public’s fear.
Sometimes, such fear is insatiable. And spreads like wildfire in drought-stricken fields. Using campaigns that included outdoor signage to play about such fears can only needlessly perpetuate the fear.
Marketing messages are powerful tools. When it comes to public scares, especially those of a medical nature, even a joke meant to be kind-hearted can have negative repercussions.
Sometimes it’s best not to touch a stove when it’s hot. Avoiding referencing a scare all together and, instead, showing general, borderline-generic support can be the calming influence that can help a community.
It’s a force. It can sway opinion. It can chill. It can inspire.