Trauma-Informed Marketing

What Is Trauma-Informed Marketing?

Trauma-informed marketing is a type of marketing that takes into account the potential impact of trauma on an individual’s experience with a product or service. It involves understanding how trauma can affect an individual’s response to marketing messages, and creating content that is sensitive to the needs of those who have experienced trauma. This type of marketing also seeks to create a safe and supportive environment for those who may be triggered by certain messages or images.

Implement Trauma-Informed Tactics

As a brand marketer, it can be overwhelming to even begin thinking what this means or how to go about it. I think it is best illustrated by some positive and negative examples. As I mentioned in a previous post, the holiday season can be hard for many people, so traditional holiday messaging can be a potential minefield of triggers for consumers, but businesses also rely on the holiday season for a minimum of 25% of the year’s profits. Last year for example, that numbered totaled $889 billion in the US alone.

Trauma-Informed Marketing Examples

Besides the year end holidays, there are other days or seasons, which can be a trigger. Take Mother’s and Father’s Day for example. The fact is that many consumers have lost one or both parents. I remember my first Mother’s Day without my mom. She had just passed the month before and I was extremely raw.

Commercials reminding me to buy a gift for mom made me burst into tears. It’s been several years now, and I’m not quite as raw. I still don’t like the holiday though. This year, I saw the best example of trauma-informed marketing and Radical Customer Experience through Brooklyn, NY based online retailer, Uncommon Goods.

Uncommon Goods trauma-informed marketing example.

(I highly recommend them for unexpected corporate gifts and experiences, or gifts in general!). I’ve been a customer of theirs for well over a decade and hold them in high esteem as a customer. So when I saw them send this SMS, I was bowled over.

Wow! Talk about being in tuned to the difficulties of a holiday. I loved Uncommon Goods before, but since I got this text, I’m sure I’ve told hundreds of people. Word of Mouth travels far. I tell 4 friends, they each tell 4 friends, and so on.

In fact, Nielsen found that consumers were 77% more likely to buy a product if their friends recommended it. Now let’s get back to the Uncommon Goods example. How much extra effort do you think it took for their mobile marketing team to put that together? I’d venture to say very little. One extra text that had such significance for me and many others.

Not So Trauma-Informed

Balenciaga non trauma-informed marketing

On a less positive side, we have the recent controversy with Balenciaga, who decided to featuring children and bondage gear. Not only was this upsetting for shoppers in general who called out the campaign for being “frightening,” “creepy” and “wrong.” Now imagine being someone effected by childhood trauma and abuse seeing those images, and how triggering that image was for them. The campaign caused so much upset that the brand sued the campaign producers for $25M.

My bottom line: it doesn’t have to be overwhelming for a brand to produce trauma-informed marketing, but it is a responsibility. Have you see any other examples out there – positive or negative? Send them our way!

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