It is almost April 2021. As President Biden promised, the stimulus checks are arriving in the bank accounts and mailboxes of many Americans who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Many are mentally exhausted after enduring a year of shutdowns, quarantining, and economic uncertainty. Unemployment, healthcare access, ill or dying family members, and access to adequate food and housing are issues that have impacted entire communities. We are living in a seriously challenging time.
Nearly all of us have been impacted by the pandemic in one way or the other. With that said, why are some well-known and trusted brands holding "stimmy sales?" Stimmy is short for stimulus. According to Forbes, "more than 158 million American households will receive a stimulus check." That is a tremendous number, but some do not qualify or have access to receive their relief funds - the homeless and migrant workers are a couple of examples. To add insult to injury, 11 Alive News (Atlanta, GA) reports that some people may have their stimulus checks garnished by private companies for debt collection.
As a small business owner, I was shocked to see some well-known brands offer "stimmy sales." It is insensitive to promote a discount in honor of funds that people need to stay afloat for non-essential items like branded tee shirts, designer scented candles, influencer makeup, etc. People do not need these items to survive! I understand that businesses desire to be profitable, but explicitly targeting stimulus dollars lacks heart.
How businesses connect with their customers or convert new prospects gives an impression of its' culture and values. I hate to say it, but years ago, I looked at how many fundraisers popped up during tax refund time. I found a surprising uptick; what we see today is the same sad appeal. No one is immune to the impact of this airborne Coronavirus. Still, we all can show a little bit of compassion through our businesses by understanding that some are hungry, on the brink of homelessness, and even alone.
In my opinion, a "stimmy sale" is an unflattering way to present a brand amid a global crisis. There are other, more ethical ways to promote services and products. There is integrity in caring about your client base and being sensitive to the issues that impact their overall well-being. We have to see past the sale and realize that people are not easy-to-manipulate money pits. They are parents, spouses, and adult children who do not need the added pressure and temptation of a "stimmy sale" during a time of crisis. Instead, they - actually we all - need support and encouragement. There is a way to serve others while impacting brand awareness. I'll provide additional insights on this topic in an upcoming episode of The Noteworthy Narrative podcast... Stay tuned!
Ivey Media Agency, LLC is a minority, woman-owned public relations, media, and consulting business located in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. Online at iveymediaagency.com.