Should your brand take a stand?

Speaking out on social or political issues is both a risk and an opportunity, says PR veteran Giles Fraser.

by Giles Fraser

This past year, a growing number of brands have taken a public stand on issues they believe in even if it put them into opposition to their government and, in some cases, the views of some of their customers.

In September Nike used Colin Kaepernick, the out-of-contract footballer famous for kneeling in protest of police killing African-Americans and other racial injustices. Many people were outraged but Nike’s online sales surged, suggesting they had the support of their core customers.

In November outdoor clothing brand Patagonia handed the $10m it had received from tax cuts to climate change groups to take a stand against Donald Trump’s position on the topic. This followed its very public endorsement of two successful Montana candidates in the mid-term elections. Both candidates were pro-protection of public lands, a topic very close to Patagonia’s brand.

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