Perspectives

Perspectives on communications management in a socially-connected world

Memes skewer PR & branding #Fails

Memes skewer PR & branding #Fails

I live and work in the state of North Carolina, which this year saw it's Republican-dominated legislature call a special session and enact what has become known as the Bathroom Bill.  It was initiated and signed into law in a single day. It is a misguided piece of legislation that strips a number of well-established workplace rights from citizens, along with the clauses pertaining to transgender people and bathrooms.  From a marketing communications and positioning perspective, it has been an unmitigated disaster for the state, and it has garnered a lot of ironic humor skewering the people and issues the bill supposedly addresses in the form of memes.

Despite the protestations of Governor McCrory to the contrary, the negative fallout was quick and brutal, and the ongoing impact is continuing. Estimates have put the loss of revenue at $5 billion annually from industry and business pullouts, boycotts, and withdrawal of Title IX federal dollars. Other estimates put the cost to the state at 20% of its annual budget. This goes hand in hand with changing the perceptions of the state from moderate to a conservative backwater. This directly negatively impacts its ability to tap into the progressive, forward-looking and innovative thinking required by entrepreneurs and and modern companies seeking employees with competitive skills-sets in a disruptive, 21st Century economy.

While comments sections generate more heat than light, especially in a year in which Donald Trump has made racism and intolerance mainstream again, the growth of a plethora of memes ridiculing the legislation and regressive policies deserves some consideration from a marketing communications and positioning perspective.

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