Balancing Act: Taking a Stand on Political Issues Without Creating a Corporate Crisis

Gone are the days when companies could comfortably stay out of the U.S. socio-political morass.

The old strategy of remaining silent or neutral quickly riles customers and other stakeholders in today’s charged, social media-savvy culture.

The voting rights controversy in Georgia provides lessons on how not to respond to an important issue.

For most brands, it is hard to imagine how taking a stand on a political hot potato won’t alienate customers. Yet, when done correctly, taking a political stand can build brand and employee loyalty.

Delta Airlines faced criticism for its about-face on Georgia’s voter law. It supported the bill while in development; then, in the face of a boycott, changed sides and opposed it.   

With voter rights, it is clearly not enough to disagree with legislation that many view as suppressive. A company must elucidate the action it will take to support its position.

Those actions might include providing paid time off for employees to vote, supporting efforts to get disenfranchised people to the polls or donating to a nonprofit that fights for voter rights.

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