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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

Should Your Business Share Your Political Views?

Some people will argue that politics has no place in business because that is how it has always been done. However, not 50 years ago, companies were taking political stands without even realising it.

In 1970, for example, Datacomp advertised a computer "so easy to use that even a woman could use it. In 1974, Weyenberg Shoes advertised a pair of shoes at which a woman was looking longingly while lying on the floor. The advertisement was captioned "Keep her where she belongs..." This was in the middle of the period of second wave feminism and severe years after The Feminine Mystique was published. Datacomp and Weyenber Shoes were taking a political stand against women's empowerment.

In today's world, political correctness is at the forefront of many public organisations' and public figures' consciousness when making decisions. A commitment to sustainability is one form of taking a political stand.

However, the question as now arisen as to whether or not businesses should be involved in political conversations.

According to research conducted by Sprout Social, the answer is yes.

66% of consumers report that they want to see brands take a stand when it comes to both social and political issues. Of this 66%, 58% would like to see this happen on social media.

However, taking a stand poses a huge risk for businesses. What if your stand does not resonate with your consumers? What if your stand does not engage with the content at all? What if this stand blurs your message?

This is where ensuring you have a clear plan on taking a stand comes into play.

1. Define your values

The first step in making your political views known in your organisation is defining your core values. It is important that at no point in the process should your organisation stray from your purpose, your mission, your vision and / or your values. These are the heart and soul of your brand and are what sets you aside from your competitors. These values will be your foundation for understanding your business’ role to play in the political landscape.

2. Understand your consumers

While it is necessary to remain true to your core values, it is also important to understand the values of your customers and clients. It does not mean that you need to strictly adhere to these; it just means you need to understand how to communicate to your clients. For example, if your business aligns with liberal values, but your consumers are predominantly conservative, part of your plan for your business to take a social stand needs to be about education and needs to be catered to your consumers’ ideals.

3. Educate your consumers

This is the most important step in implementing your plan. Your existing consumers are the lifeblood of your business. They are the most important people in your organisation, and for the economic sustainability of your organisation, it is vital that you bring them with you in your journey. Education on your political views can happen through standard marketing channels - website, social media, email marketing - and needs to be engaging.

4. Market your stance in line with your existing brand

In order not to cloud your current branding and not to move away from your existing strategies, it is important to prioritise your current branding and introduce your political stance into that branding. Change is often overwhelming for people, including your consumers, and too much change at once will create confusion and mistrust.

5. Gradually build-up the impact your voice makes

In order to see success in your campaign, it is vital to start small. Taking on issues which align with your brand that have widespread agreement is a fantastic way to begin. These could be issues like feminism or racial equality. Once you see success in campaigns such as these, you can then look at more controversial issues with align with your values.

If your business wants to take a more outspoken stance on political issues, contact us today to get started on your plan!

This article was originally published on the Strategic Sustainability Consultants website.

#sustainablystrategic #corporatesocialresponsibility

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