Wednesday, September 11, 2019

How Will Your Brand Commemorate September 11?

Waves of Flags, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
If you were alive on September 11, 2001, your life was forever changed by the events in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in rural Pennsylvania. Terrorism arrived in the United States - and the country would never be the same.

This September marks the 18th anniversary of that tragedy, and while war and terrorism still exist, we will always remember the people who perished on that September morning. And we will always celebrate the first responders who rushed into harm's way.

In those first few days after September 11, 2001, most brands added an American flag to their homepages with messages of condolences for the lives lost. Since social media did not exist, there were no Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram posts that gained hundreds of thousands of comments, likes, or retweets. But today is different. Social media has provided opportunities for everyone's voices to be heard.

On September 11, 2012, President Barack Obama proclaimed the date as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. While US government buildings fly their American flags at half-staff, Americans are urged to perform a day of service and make a positive difference in their communities.

2019 will mark the twelfth year that Malibu's Pepperdine University will showcase the annual Waves of Flags, a display of 2,977 full-size flags. There are 2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90  international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad who died.

No one can forget Budweiser's ad featuring the iconic Clydesdales that aired only once (during the 2002 Super Bowl - here's the link: "The horses pay tribute to the memory of the fallen of September 11th with an unforgettable, breath-taking bow. Many have never forgotten the commercial that never aired again...[Budweiser] had to get approval from members of Congress, the ad community, and from New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani," reported Shirley Washington.

There are some inspiring ways for your brand to commemorate September 11, but you may also wish to remain silent. There are traditional marketing avenues, such as, email marketing, website messages, and advertising. And then there is social media. Your brand can combine efforts with competitors or aligned brands as well.

While some in the marketing arena think it best for brands to remain silent on September 11, the reality is that consumers look to brands to make an emotional connection. When a connection is made, often long-term loyalty happens. On this very important day in American history, people remember the brands that spoke out. So, how will your brand commemorate September 11?

Image Credits: Debbie Laskey Photography and Twitter.

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