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  • Writer's pictureAlpha Moose

When Should You Take a Stance?

The last two years have been full of constant change and uncertainty. A world-wide pandemic, ongoing racism around the country, and now a war?!?

These are just the three top headlines we’ve been seeing, but there are so many other problems our society faces on any given day. You might have strong feelings about these topics that you talk about with your friends and family, but should you ever bring them to your small business? If so, when? And is there a right way to do so?

Unfortunately, there is no one right answer. Speaking up about a cause you believe in can ignite your passions, attract like-minded people to your business, and depending on how you choose to involve yourself, make a difference in your community. But it can also turn potential customers away if they have differing views or don’t want to be perceived as aligning themselves with a particular political stance.

Start by asking yourself some questions.

First, what are your business’s mission and values? Does the cause you want to speak out about align with those values? If yes, this can be a great opportunity to show your base that you are living your mission. However, if the answer is no, you might be seen as inauthentic or disingenuous by the public.

Second, is there something you can do to support your cause? Activism is more than just putting a sign in your window, and you don’t want your customer base to think that you are only supporting a cause because it’s popular or will bring in business (sometimes called ‘woke washing’).

Patrons of your business will want to know how you are participating, whether it’s donating money to a nonprofit, providing services to help the cause, or educating others. Also, many supporters of small businesses want to keep their money in their community. So if you do choose to support a nonprofit or charity, it’s best to keep it local.

Finally, consider how your employees or business partners feel. If you are supporting a cause that they also believe in, it can be a powerful tool to bring your team together. Ask them for ideas on how to speak out about these issues, where they think money should be donated, or if they have ideas on how you can use your business to educate others. This is especially important if they are directly impacted by the issue and you are not.

If your employees and/or partners are not comfortable supporting a particular cause or don’t agree with your plan of action, it’s a great time to step back and consider if there is another plan of action that you could take, or if you should keep your support separate from your business at this time.

Real-World Examples

GOOD: Heineken nailed it with their “across the aisle” beer campaign that put similarities first and inspired togetherness rather than difference. Watch the video here.

BAD: Pepsi, trying the same thing around the same time, used a popular model and a shallow understanding of the situation to create their commercial, which flopped big time. Watch the video.

GOOD: Feminine brand Always capitalized on the recent increase in feminism with a sincere, relevant commercial that was clearly tied to their brand. Watch the video.

BAD: MyPillow founder Mike Lindell made his voice and opinions clearly known, causing backlash for his brand and the future of his company. Read more here.

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