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Show Some Compassion
By: Sarah Jane Dunaway
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Compassion for consumers is a highly underrated quality for brands.

When your brand represents an industry so controversial that laws are questioned in response to what your brand stands for, it’s important to know who loves you and who hates you. Now, what do those people love and hate? Is it their families, their children, their education?

Put all that information together. The result should not be a smartphone game for children, as young as four years old, teaching them how to shoot guns — especially on the anniversary of such a horrific tragedy as that of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Enough media outlets are criticizing the NRA’s release of “NRA: Practice Range” last week, so instead I’ll take a different angle.

If you represent a brand with questionable integrity, at least recognize the good and bad in what you do. Maybe you’re not some multibillion dollar corporation pushing cigarette smoking, but rather a third generation tobacco farmer, representing the pride of your grandfather and the company he built by himself. 

At least pay attention to the marketplace well enough to know that healthy living isn’t just a fad but a lifestyle and lung cancer isn’t just a cold. Rather than create a “teach your children to smoke” iPhone app, offer resources for your current customers looking to quit smoking. 

A brand that shows compassion is a brand who cares about customer service.

The description of the new NRA app in the Apple iTunes store does clearly state that it is “delivering one-touch access to the NRA network of news, laws, facts, knowledge, safety tips, educational materials and online resources,” and therefore isn’t just a game. It does say that the game portion provides “fun challenges and realistic simulations” and offers the “most authentic experience possible.”

Following the gruesome death of children and employees at Sandy Hook Elementary, the NRA-issued game could probably do without the realistic simulations. Not to mention the Target Practice feature offering nine true-to-life firearms. If anything, the game could’ve used a weapon similar the one found in Duck Hunt rather than a semi-automatic rifle too frequently used to destroy lives, including children.

The marketplace will always be filled with brands hated by some and loved by others. No matter what your brand represents, the bottom line is still the same. Those who love you and hate you are still people — people with families who want a better life for their children. Have a little respect and a little compassion for your consumer and even those who are not.

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About the Author

Sarah Jane Dunaway is a brand strategist and design consultant, and the writer and creator behind the blog Clean & Proper. A former member of the paper and printing industry, Sarah Jane specializes in helping businesses of all sizes streamline marketing communications by creating compelling brand identity systems and corporate identity packages. Find her online here

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