Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Should a Consumer Brand Jump Into Politics?

What do most consumer brands gain when they publicly take sides in our divisive national political debates? Less market share would be the warning from Michael Jordan in a recent piece for the Beloved Brands blog. He cites the negative brouhahas when Chick-Fil-A's president publicly declared his support of traditional marriage, or when Whole Foods' CEO derided Obamacare as "fascism," or when Donald Trump championed any one of his more extreme attention-getters. Results? Chick-Fil-A's positive brand rating plummeted, and the company quickly sought to distance itself from its chief's personal opinions. Whole Foods was battered by a social media storm among its upscale clientele, and the CEO hurried to recast his comments. And Donald Trump is reaping lower ratings for "The Apprentice" as well as his mainstream political ambitions. Of course, if your product, service or industry is directly involved in, or affected by, legislation, then a public position can make sense -- although it may be seen as self-serving. For most consumer brand marketers, however, Jordan advises turning to "Sesame Street" for some basic wisdom: When Mitt Romney gave Big Bird a chance to speak out for government funding, the tall yellow fellow kept mum and thus kept true to an apolitical brand for parents all along the political spectrum. For the complete article, see http://beloved-brands.com/2013/03/02/politics/

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