How are brands talking about Ukraine in social?

By Teamspirit on Thursday, 24 March 2022

How should brands react to high profile political issues? It’s a tricky question at the best of times, let alone after unprecedented world events, such as the recent invasion of Ukraine.

At Teamspirit Analytics we ran a review on social media of how brands reacted initially to Russia’s invasion of its neighbour and found that, at least initially, most had adopted a cautious approach.

Days after the invasion, we reviewed the social profiles of over 30 top brands (mainly in Financial Services), looking for any posts referencing the conflict. We saw that nearly all had either stayed silent on the topic or had only posted explainers and expert comment on the implications of the conflict for investors.

Out of all the brands reviewed, only two had posted updates expressing their concern about the invasion.

We also looked at the results of a wider social listening query looking at the most active accounts discussing Ukraine or the war days after it started. This review did not bring up posts authored by any major company (other than news/media sources), indicating that the business world was largely side-stepping the topic on social media.

Still, as the full impact of the war became more obvious, the social tide quickly began to turn. We re-ran the analysis three days later and observed that a dozen more top FS brands had posted updates on LinkedIn directly addressing the invasion of Ukraine.

A couple of the companies had announced concrete business actions to suspend investments or activities in or with Russia. Most had announced donations and organised humanitarian support. A minority had issued perfunctory statements of support and thoughts.

However, at that stage, one week after the invasion, most of the brands reviewed had continued to remain silent on the issue or limited their posts to market updates and expert commentary.

Many companies that have a mostly UK presence or international ones with limited exposure to Europe had not referenced the invasion at all by March 1.

By now, nearly a month into the war, the picture is quite different, as more than 400 companies from all sectors have withdrawn from Russia and many more have condemned the invasion and pledged their support for Ukraine.

Our analysis highlights how important it is for brands to continually monitor the social and media landscape to spot issues that may impact their reputation and see how competitors are reacting to them.