Advertise during a disaster?

Our agency has offices in Bismarck and Minot, North Dakota. I, along with my brother Kalvin (our Operations Director) grew up in Sawyer, just down the road (or in keeping with the theme of this story, down the river) from Minot. The catastrophic flooding that has occurred along the Missouri and Mouse Rivers has affected us all. If not directly, we all have a friend or a co-worker or a family member who has been.

So, how do you write a blog about marketing or advertising or social media or any of the other topics we like to cover here at KK BOLD at a time like this? We have so many friends, family, clients and business partners dealing with losing their homes, their businesses, and even their children’s schools. It seems so irrelevant. How can anyone care and what could it have to do with any of the devastating ramifications from the horrific floods that have occurred in our communities?

Well, the reality is that marketing will play a huge role in the recovery process. It will be used to inform, to raise awareness, to raise money and move people to action. It will help stimulate the economy by getting money turning over in the community. It will help businesses begin to offer new services needed for clean up and restoration, let customers know of new locations and new products and it will bring people to events and festivals and benefits. Retuning to a sense of normalcy and a regular routine are vital to the recovery process. So even things like hearing the same old ads on local radio and TV stations can give a feeling of comfort, a feeling that some parts of my life are still the same.

For a business, it is understandable if you are thinking, “How do I keep advertising the same old way, asking people to buy my product or service when they have lost so much?” The truth is, feeling guilty is normal, especially if your home or business was not directly affected. To help lessen this concern, you need to revisit your message and make sure it is in tune with the recent events. Make sure you are making an offer that is relevant and the tone reflects your business’s concern or desire to help. Also, consider adding a charity to your advertising campaign. They can always use the extra help, it is a positive reflection on you and your company and knowing your advertising is also helping others will help to make the decision easier. No, it won’t be business as usual for quite a while, but for the good of your business and the good of your community, you need to realize that continuing your marketing program is a vital piece to the recovery process.

Also, if you haven’t already, please consider giving to one of these local charities. There are so many in need.

American Red Cross – Mid-Dakota Chapter

Minot Area Recovery Fund

The Salvation Army
Online at; 
Call 800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), tell them it’s for “Minot flood”;
 Text “MINOT” to 80888 to donate $10, it will be added to your cell phone bill, make sure to reply “YES” to return text; Mail a check to: The Salvation Army, 315 Western Ave., Minot, ND 58701, designate check with “Minot Flood.”

LaRoy Kingsley is the President of KK BOLD.

Posted on July 1, 2011 in KK BOLD, News

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