Social Media’s Influence on What Your Brand Stands For

Think back to the days before social media, did you know the political stances of your favorite brands? Occasionally news would get out that a brand did something that revealed their political beliefs, but that only made headlines if their behavior was very controversial. Nowadays, it is far more commonplace to be aware of the political inclination of popular brands, and social media is the culprit.

Your customers have become more vocal on social media when it comes to sharing their political opinions. When you attempt to relate to your audience, a problem arises. By making any sort of political statement on social media, your brand is polarizing its audience. Companies are often told that in order to succeed on social media, it is important to both humanize your brand and to develop your brand’s own unique voice. If your brand has a unique voice, then the company is probably going to take a stance on certain issues rather than stay neutral. You want to build trust with your audience and build a relationship with them.

While voicing your brand’s political stance might make some of your customers feel a deeper connection to your brand, at the same time it will turn other customers away. This often results in boycotting of popular brands. For example, brands such as Uber and Starbucks received backlash on social media. Meanwhile, brands such as Nordstrom and T.J. Maxx recently dropped Ivanka Trump’s brand for “business reasons,” which caused social media users to believe that the companies were making a political statement. However, according to Refinery29, sales of Ivanka Trump’s brand ended up increasing by 346% from January to February.

The consequences of making political statements on social media makes it a very risky move for CEOs and CMOs. Whether or not it’s better to make a political statement or avoid polarizing your audience depends largely on who your specific audience is and whether or not a bold political statement is fitting for your brand’s unique voice.