It’s business and it’s personal: Why taking a stance with your company is in your best interest.
Upset no one. Sell to everyone. The business philosophy of staying neutral as a way to attract the greatest number of customers is not only out of vogue, but a poor business strategy. Can a business take no stance, show no loyalty, yet expect to spark engagement from their customers?
Post, tweet, tag: complacency is a luxury no one, or business, can afford. Brian Thomas Collins, the Chief Creative Officer of the design company COLLINS, commented on a photo he took of a group of rainbow-colored Mickey Mouse dolls that were showcased prominently at a Disney store in New York. “Years ago… I was not sure something like this was even possible,” he wrote.
Why would Walt Disney, or any company, “risk” alienating people who are not gay-friendly? Why not just avoid the topic entirely?
Mind you, according to the Pew Research Center, support in 2019 for same-sex marriage remains near its highest point since polling began on this issue in 2004. Today, 61% of Americans support same-sex marriage. But even in the liberal bastion of New York, why take the risk of alienating the 39%?
Because who loves the grey middle? In an era of micro-targeting and hyper customer-awareness, if your business doesn’t spark joy (thank you, Marie Kondo) in your consumers, expect them to move on. A business can’t afford to take no stance. And it’s a bad business model, besides.
According to Out Leadership, the global purchasing power of the LGBTQ+ consumer market is 3.6 trillion dollars. And staying neutral risks alienating a talent pool of approximately 266 million LGBT+ people, or 3.5% of the global population.
What and who your company is loyal to depends on your brand’s values, but we’ll save that for another article.
I understand that not all businesses are going to share my values (hello, Hobby Lobby), but I would prefer to know a business’ stance to either reward it with my loyalty or avoid it entirely.
Companies can no longer hide behind a take-no-stance approach. It’s bad business. It’s not the right thing to do. In a country that has struggled with issues of fairness, social justice and doing the right thing, we admire and reward those who stand for something and expect no less of the businesses we ask to become part of our lives.
Image credit: Brian Thomas Collins