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It’s Getting Hot in Here: Brand Activism in Diverse Political Climates

West Michigan was unseasonably warm last month.

I was beginning to think sweating was my new way of life.

The weather certainly seems to be symbolic of where we are as a country right now—chaotic, confused and heated.

Business & Brand Activism

8THIRTYFOUR is a progressive agency. That is something we have never shied away from, and we find it important to take a stance on issues we believe in. Hell yes, Colin Kaepernick and all of the other NFL players should be kneeling. We will take this stance any day.

This isn't always common practice for businesses, as it can, in some instances, affect your revenue stream.

However, the impact on revenue can be a positive one, if done appropriately.

NFL, Racial Injustice, Bathroom Laws, and More – When to Take a Stand?

When is it appropriate for a business to take a stand? A Fast Company article on brand activism made the following points:

• When brands take action on issues their customers care about, it fosters an emotional connection.

• Brands understand the value of following their employees' lead on issues, both because it helps with retention and recruitment directly and because being known for running a respectful, thoughtful workplace.

• Taking a stand is polarizing, and could turn off or even drive away potential customers who don't agree with you.

• It's important for companies engaging in brand activism to be seen as leaders in their industry, not followers.

As a business, this is an important conversation to have internally. We are experiencing an incredibly divisive time in our country and this is leading to more businesses such as Apple, Starbucks and Target issuing public statements on the "bathroom law," LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, racial injustice (NFL dialogue) and more.

I'm not sure businesses can afford to stay quiet. What do you think?

Kim Bode is a business owner, dog lover, wine drinker and coffee addict ... oh, and a blogger. She owns 834 | Integrated Communications located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 834 is an award-winning Comunication Strategy, Event Planning, Social Media, Media Relationship and Design firm that is redefining how agencies do business. You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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