It feels natural to say 'a family mourns,' but to say 'a company mourns'—not so much. Many argue this is business's fault. As Carlos Abler notes, every day business communities ignore individual and commonwealth best interests, putting shareholders or personal careers above all else.
So when brands try to actually act with humanity it shouldn't be surprising how often it backfires and people respond with cynicism. Prince’s passing on Thursday April 21st 2016 was one such occasion where Abler's employer, 3M wanted to respond with humanity to a fellow Minnesotan and much loved member of their community. Says Abler:
My mind was blown when I saw this image pass through my Twitter feed.
But media and the public alike questioned the business motives behind the tribute. Perhaps justifiably, people often assume the intent behind such statements is a self-promotional act of ‘newsjacking’.
It will take businesses learning to act with more integrity as corporate citizens to recover their humanity in the eyes of the people, and recover the right to mourn with them.
Customers control your brand. If a customer has a bad experience, all it takes is one tweet or Facebook post for hundreds or thousands of people to see that story. No amount of communications management can fix that person’s bad experience. Build relationships with your customers through honest, ethical, useful content, and you will earn the trust of, and the right to mourn with your customers.
Carlos goes into compelling depth about the issue of trust for brands below.