Should Brands Be Political Online?

Women considering yes, no, maybe optionsWith the election cycle in full swing and plenty of polarizing issues being talked about in both traditional and social media circles, many brands are wondering whether they should weigh in on these discussions, or remain silent. It’s a legitimate, relevant, and important question. As with many important questions, though, there is no easy answer. 

It depends!

Whether or not a brand should get political online really depends on their brand and if being political, or supporting some political issue, is aligned with that brand. If it’s part of “who you are,” then yes. If not, then probably no.

We’re in a very polarized world these days both in terms of political ideologies and general thoughts and feelings about the impact of COVID-19, social unrest, etc. No business can hope to ever “please all of the people all of the time,” but they do need to strive to please/support/provide value to the people who represent their target audience.

In some cases, businesses find that they are serving an audience that cares about their political views; in other cases, though, potential customers simply want to buy a product or service that meets some need.

Other issues, though, may become very personally important–like safety from potential COVID-19 exposure. If you operate a business where physical interactions must occur (a restaurant, for instance), you really can’t ignore addressing issues related to personal safety. While much of the conversation around COVID-19 has become “politicized,” from a practical standpoint the safety of your customers isn’t political, it’s personal.

…on your product, your audience…

If you’re a business that sells firearms, it’s appropriate for you to be visible online in terms of your support for laws and regulations that support the right to bear arms and to take a stand on whatever rules or regulations might emerge related to people’s ability to purchase firearms and the restrictions or steps they might need to go through to do so.

If you operate a bakery, however, regardless of your own personal views on firearms, it would probably not be a good idea from a marketing communication strategy standpoint to take any kind of stand on this issue. Chances are you’d turn off about half of your potential audience. That said, if a certain cause is very important to you as a business owner, and you want that position to be part of your brand identity, then yes, you may choose to be political online recognizing the potential impact your position may have.

…and your brand.

The thing is, like elections, marketing actions have consequences. Whether or not to weigh in on political issues is a decision each business and its owners, or leaders, should consider. There’s no single right or wrong answer that applies to all businesses; but there may be a right or wrong answer that applies to your business.

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create, and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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