We’re really asking.
Has your brand woken up to what’s been happening socially and/or politically?
Here’s why we’re posing this question in this week’s blog – for a long time, our brand was silent. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, our lives begin to end when stay silent about things that matter. And while so many of us understand this at a personal level, we’ve kept our businesses clear of getting involved in any hot-button social issues.
Guilty as charged.
We were scared about pissing people off and losing business. We were scared about people not wanting to refer us – again, the loss of business. We didn’t want to be known in any of our communities as the people who make trouble or are too much to deal with, and this is counter to what we’ve always taught our clients – to take a stand. The first time we really attached our company to any social issue was during the #metoo movement. We spoke out in support of it and received some flak – not a ton, but some.
When we sent an email saying we stood with the Black Lives Matter movement – the hateful responses and the racial slurs and epithets people responded with were really impactful – not in a good way. We felt gut-punched that people could say these things about us. One woman posted our image on her profile and announced to her audience that we were a wing of Antifa and funded by George Soros.
Here’s what we’ve learned about having our brand take a stand: it’s the only way we want to do business. When people look at the elephant, we want them to know that in addition to our programs and services, what they can count on when they see that elephant, is a community of humane and committed business owners who are willing to stand up for what’s right even in the toughest of times and at great cost. Leading people isn’t just about taking their money and doing what’s written in the contract when it’s easy. Leadership is mostly about being a leader when it’s difficult. How else do you show your people how to navigate through difficult times if you’re not leading the charge, learning as you go.
In our view, you can’t. At best you’ll hypothesize while referencing something from the past.
Now more than ever, people want to be led, and to be developed to be able to lead too. If you’re not providing authentic and relevant ways in which to do that, then you have to ask yourself – are you really being a leader?
Consumers are paying attention. They’re watching who gets their dollars. Whatever you stand for, as long as it’s authentic and really represents you – it’ll attract an authentic following and it will free you up to be yourself in your business 100% of the time.
Take a stand.