Mixing Brands and Politics

January 30, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai, Content Editor

When we say the word “America” what comes to mind?

I’m sure we don’t need to elaborate on the several statements you could come up with.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that President Trump has signed several sweeping executive orders – most recently being a ban on refugees entering from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Chaos ensued, including people being stopped at airports, protests organizing across the world, immigration lawyers setting up camp in airports to offer assistance and confusion amongst dual citizens.

Interestingly enough, brands got heavily involved in all of the above.

From Starbucks saying it would hire 10,000 refugees over 5 years to Uber turning off surge pricing at JFK airport and consequently being mass deleted by users, brands had something to say.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s why: brands are getting political.

It’s not that they haven’t gotten political in the past. [INSERT EXAMPLE?]

However, it seems that in the current political climate things are happening fast and on a hugely impactful level.

Whether it originates in corporate culture and brand belief, or if it’s a case of policies affecting companies’ workers, brands are finding themselves in a position where they need to decide on how they’re going to address the policies of their nation’s leader or even if.

As a content agency, our job is to advise our clients on how to build and sustain their brand identity through the creation of custom content that wins and holds onto their customer’s minutes.

With every brand, we go through a process that looks like this:

While we follow steps, it’s always an individual process catered to a brand’s needs and opportunities.

How else would we make custom content?

As we linked to above, brands from Uber to Google to Airbnb to Tesla have said and done things in light of the current immigration policy enacted by President Trump.

We’d be here for a very, very long time if we decided to analyze each brand’s response and how it works for them. We’re not trying to skip out on the hard work, but simply trying to keep your mind moving on the topic at hand instead of drifting off to cat videos.

Still, we do have one thing to say when it comes to brands getting political:

Do what’s right and what fits.

This means do what’s right by your employees and the policies you operate by.

It also means do what makes the most sense and fits in with your brand belief.

Brands may differ to the extent in which they literally live by their brand belief, but what should always remain consistent is that their actions are directly indicative of what they put out there. 

If you’re going to promise to do something, do it. Plain and simple. This demonstrates commitment and explains your over-arching "why." 

Yes, politics is messy. But what’s even messier is a brand saying they’ll do one thing but then doing another.

It’s harder to pull your brand out of false promises than it is to just do the job right.  

So, if you’re a brand and you find yourself drawn to action by what is going on around the world, act responsibly, remember your influence and recognize the power you have.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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