I’m Disgusted By Companies Trying to Capitalize on Coronavirus Outbreak

Published: 2020-03-16

Before just about every AV industry trade show, my email inbox is surely not the only one that’s bombarded with game-changing products that are touted as the first of their kind, the types of revolutionary items that integrators can’t live without for a second longer—once they’re available. [related]

I understand, after working in the trade publication space for more than a decade now between my time at CI and my previous job covering the architecture and engineering industry before during and after the Great Recession in 2008, that this marketing hyperbole is about attracting attention.

It’s largely harmless stuff and most people can see right through the excessive use of exclamation points and bold print.

However, in times like this, I will never understand why people think it’s OK to try to capitalize on a crisis, whether it means hoarding pallets of hand sanitizer and trying to sell them for exorbitant prices before Amazon and eBay shut down his effort, or using the crisis to drum up interest in a product.

If you think that’s an outrageous tactic, I can tell you it’s happened more than once, including in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. Maybe there’s a short-term boost to your bottom line, but the long-term damage to your company’s reputation can be too much to overcome.

Most business leaders I know in this industry would rather be known for the good things they’ve done to help those who need a little assistance. I still remember when I was writing a story about two companies that were helping survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School move into a new space, the CEOs of both companies worried the story would look like they were trying to make a buck, but that wasn’t true.

I’ve had similar discussions with some of the subjects of our Connected to the Community articles, where we highlight a company’s ties with local and national charities. That tells me these companies are run by good people who aren’t about to use the coronavirus to sell their products and services.

Don’t Use Coronavirus to Sell Stuff!

Because so many trade shows and industry events are pushed off for the next few months, we likely won’t get a lot of news about new product releases since many companies try to sync those events up, especially in the AV space.

Still, that hasn’t stopped a few companies from using “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” in their subject lines to promote products that have been around for a while.

I understand we’ve written our fair share of coronavirus-related pieces in the past couple of weeks and that’s helped out company every time you’ve clicked on them, but I don’t anticipate you’ll soon have to pay for the right to wear a protective face mask with a CI logo on it or anything like that.

If you want to attach yourself to the outbreak of a worldwide pandemic, follow the lead of Zoom, which is expanding the access to its videoconferencing platforms to business and schools as more people are told to stay home as often as possible.

Your customers and those who are looking to become customers will remember that too. Would you rather be remembered as the company that tried to succeed on the back of a crisis or one that’s doing everything it can to help people who need it when faced with a life-and-death situation?

Posted in: Insights, News

Tagged with: Coronavirus

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