Recently, Contently, a marketing firm, put out an article by Tallie Gabriel (“Your Brand Needs a Conscience”) that urged companies to take up hot-button political issues in order to be successful. This seems like incredibly stupid advice after what happened to the NFL this season, where the league did just that. Gabriel wrote:
There will always be risk associated with any move that can be construed as political.
But as Contently’s director of strategy Joe Lazauskas wrote after the 2016 presidential election, the benefits outweigh the potential downside: Even if publicizing your beliefs may ostracize some potential customers, it also builds deep loyalty for those who share your values—particularly values like celebrating equality and inclusion, which many people support, regardless of political affiliation. The same goes for expressing concern and support for the diverse people who work for you. Loyalty isn’t just a marketing metric; it’s also critical for measuring the internal health of your company.
I need another politicized company trying to sell me things like I need a longer flu season. Shut up already and sell me whatever thing it is you have to offer. If I want something you make, just sell it to me without the moralizing, please. It appears we can also blame this on millennials (what can’t we blame on them?):
Millennials want to buy products from brands that uphold their own ideal self-image, and this often means aligning oneself with issues and causes that matter to them. This goes from proudly posting a selfie while wearing Patagonia outerwear to carrying The New Yorker totes that are taking over NYC streets and subway platforms. Millennials want people to see them and immediately know what they care about.
The vacuousness of the millennial generation has no limits. Have they not figured out yet that none of us want to know about their latest cause? Everyone cares about things. You aren’t special, you’re hilariously clueless. This is what participation trophies got us—an entire generation of people who think buying overpriced footwear is charity work. It’s embarrassing, but keep in mind these are the same people who eat Tide Pods for clicks on YouTube. Changing marketing strategy to cater to them might not be the best practice.
Contently’s virtue signaling about “diversity” is amusing. A quick survey of the About Us page on their website shows the company is run by all white guys (minus one Indian gentleman and one white woman). There isn’t a disabled, transgender, POC furry in the whole bunch! Why no practice of what thou preacheth? This is always the story with companies who blather on about “equality and diversity.” That’s something for other people to do, not the “good” white people with all the acceptable far-left political views who care about “diversity” but hire few minorities.
If the free marketplace has taught us anything recently, it’s that American consumers do not care to mix shopping and politics. Target tanked after taking up the transgender bathroom cause. Starbucks is still hurting from announcing they would hire 100,000 refugees, the NFL is on life support after the flag protests, and the business experts (not marketing fools) have bad news for anyone who follows suit. Investor’s Business Daily reports, “For companies that have become embroiled in national politics in recent months, the news is not good… by politicizing your image and reputation, you will limit your growth and profits.”
Maybe companies should believe the business experts here and avoid angering half of their customers. Shut up and sell me coffee.