Periods of mourning are sensitive times in any country, and in Thailand this is magnified as the King was so highly regarded by his people. Although companies need to continue to operate during this sad time, it is important for them to show consideration and adapt their way of working. The following paragraphs will give insights on how to handle some key situations.
Thirty Days of Mourning
The first thirty days after the King’s death are a strict time of mourning. Government employees are expected to wear black during this time and to show respect, public companies should follow suit. No parties or celebrations of any kind are to be held during this time. Bars and nightclubs will be closed and many events have already been cancelled. If you had special events planned during this time, you should communicate to your audience as soon as possible that everything has to be postponed. Not respecting the strict thirty days of mourning can lead not only to a tarnished reputation, but also to legal action against you and your company.
International corporations with offices in Thailand can post a commemorative ad in national newspapers to suitably express mourning for the country’s loss. This will show Thai stakeholders that the company has empathy with them and that they are taking this difficult time seriously.
Promotions and Media Events
For the first thirty days, promotions, product launches and press conferences should also be postponed. Ongoing promotion campaigns that rely on colorful advertisement, fun activities and music should be put on hold. Depending on the nature of the campaigns, they could be relaunched after these thirty days or should be cancelled altogether. Alternative campaigns that befit the situation better can be launched after a month. Approaches that can be considered are a focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR), such as donations to the King’s charities and support of their work. This can lead to positive PR all while respecting the situation. However, you should be aware that it is a sensitive time and people will not react well to opportunistic companies trying to use it to gain a commercial advantage.
After the First Thirty Days
After the strict period of mourning is over, the country will continue to grieve the King for another year. During this time, it is wise to remain respectful of his passing by communicating and holding events in a way that is appropriate to the mourning period. If you are unsure about which procedures to follow and how to communicate during this time, it is best to contact a professional with the necessary local expertise that can help you avoid pitfalls.