Navigating the current social and political climate in America right now is challenging to say the least. Certainly, on an individual level, but even more difficult from a business perspective.
Generally speaking, when a friend posts something on social media that you disagree with, you can chalk it up to a difference in beliefs and they are your friend and ideally you don’t let it affect you and move on. Your customers do not know you on a personal level like you know your friends.
There is no playbook on how to approach issues as they arise in unprecedented times, something that we are all experiencing for the first time. We see brands making bold statements that their audience may or may not support. This could lead to more support or on the flip side, abandonment.
I can’t tell you that you should or should not release company statements or positions on social, political or any public issue because the decision will be unique to your business and your customers. Everyone has a different situation and there are different reasons to show support or take a stand on current events.
How to Respond
In analyzing the statement you want to make or stance you want to take as an organization – consider the following:
- Avoid knee-jerk reactions. Let the situation marinate so that you can take some of the emotion out of it and make an informed, strategic decision.
- Ask yourself:
- Who is my audience?
- Who are my customers?
- Who are my employees?
- Who else am I concerned about?
- Are they all going to agree?
- Could any of them be offended or alienated?
- Who is my audience?
- Try not to make assumptions. Talk to trusted members of your audience to get their honest opinions knowing that they will likely present opposition in some capacity.
- What are you looking to gain from this decision? Are you raising awareness or funds? Are you building trust with your audience? Or do you just feel like you have to say something?
- Is there another way you can propel positive change as a company? Volunteering or donating to a cause, encouraging your audience to vote or voice their own opinions, etc.
Answering these questions as a decision-making team will help you be able to better craft your statement and strategy as a whole. And sometimes you will find that it may be better to just say nothing at all.
Katie O’Hara, Project Manager
Katie loves the challenge of finding ways to help clients stand out in a crowded world. She believes that finding inspiration in unlikely places is the key to great ideas.