14 Nov Should brands get political?
Before, during, and after the election of our 45th President, many brands and celebrities (who are in essence a brand) shared a politicized personal message via social media.
On Friday, the CEO of Grubhub wrote a strongly worded message unaccepting of the President-elect Trump. This ignited fiery responses from pro-Trump Grubhub users, with many threatening to boycott the service. Grubhub’s trading activity was down by half and shares went down 5% (Crains). Was expressing his opinion on his public (CEO brand figure) profile worth it?
How much influence do celebrities actually have in supporting a nominee? Does a fanatical Beyoncé fan change political stances because she supports a particular candidate? What, if any, is the negative impact on her brand from fans that don’t agree with her political leanings? There doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut answer, which is why I am interested in your opinions.
Obviously, every person has the right to express his or her views, but what exactly is the cost? Could it possibly be a gain for brands that know their customers so well that taking a political stand improves their standing with customers?
Are the rules and costs different for brand accounts? What is the internal cost when a CEO expresses political views? More than likely, all of the employees in your company do not have the same political views and opinions. For that to be true, a workforce most likely would lack diversity, which studies show can lead to a workplace that is not as productive as one that values diversity. So how should a brand decide whether or not to support a candidate and, in essence, speak for its entire company? And what affect does that have on the employees who do not share that view? Could valuable talent be lost because an employee does not feel comfortable in their environment or no longer believes in the company’s values due to a political stance? What other outcomes could result?
Do you think brands should be political? There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer, so let us know your thoughts.