Today’s topic has come out from a lot of questions that I’ve been getting from our listeners and also from our clients or people that are even not our clients. And that has to do with everything that’s going to go on in the universe around us.
People are basically asking, “Do I reply”, ”Do I put something out to my email list or my social media channel?”, “Do we put something on our website?”, “What do we do in a situation like this?” And I will openly tell you that there is really no perfectly easy answer. I’m going to tell you kind of both sides of the coin that I’ve seen over the last couple of days or last week or so.
But before I do that, at the end of the day, it comes down to the core and the type of business that you are, as well as the type of leader that you are. This is going to be a tough one because I’m going to give you the pros and cons of both. Even though you might just be coming out and I mean, supporting all the things that have happened, there’s always going to be another side of the people that are going to see it the wrong way.
It’s never easy with what you do, but I always go back to you want to really do and what’s right for you and for your company. I personally have had a policy at my company that we do not get involved in anything that has to do with politics. We also do not do anything that has to do with public events and things like that.
Yes, there’s unrest going on kind of all around us. Yes, there are a lot of companies that are sending emails, and we’ll talk about those. There’s also a lot of companies that are staying on the sidelines. I can’t tell you that that’s the wrong thing to do. You’re going to have some people who are going to say, “Well, if you don’t say anything then, we just assume that you’re for the opposition, so to speak.”
There are a million different ways that this can be viewed and perceived, regardless of what you do, there really is no perfect answer. There’s really no easy answer, so to speak.
The companies that have been putting things out, they’ve often said things like, “we’ve got to do better”. There have been some companies that have stepped up and made donations to certain charitable causes and things like that. There’s been a lot of different messages that have been out there.
So example, BestBuy sent an email basically saying, “Here’s what we’re going to do to continue to help the youth and start to have more events at our stores.” and I think it was well perceived.
However, when you go and you look on Twitter, for example, you’re seeing some people that are saying “this is great that BestBuy stepping up”. Then you see the other people saying that they’re just trying to take advantage of the situation. And, then you see the third side of a two-sided coin that says, “I can’t believe they’re putting that stuff out there, this is ridiculous.”
Ultimately, you’re never going to please everyone. But what I’m encouraging you to do is to stay true to yourself and your company. I personally have always advised if you’re going to put something out there, you should have a neutral tone. You should be prepared for any potential ramifications that you’re going to incur.
For example, there are certain businesses that are not open on Sunday —they are never open on Sunday. They do that because they believe and they feel, again, I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, that Sunday should be a day for family and for a day of worship in church.
That is what they firmly believe in — anything that potentially threatens or things that are related to church or things that go against God — they tend to speak out against it. They’re going to attract some people that are very happy with that, and at the same time, they’re going to attract some people that are not very happy with that. Again, it’s looking at the core of your brand, the core of your story, and the type of people that work at your company.
This is a really tough one to say the right thing, because people are, in my opinion, getting a little bit crazy. I mean, there are riots happening everywhere. I live in Buffalo, New York, and there were two police officers, yesterday or the day before. Someone tried to run them over with a car. Things are just getting crazy.
Now, if I go on my social media and I start putting something out there that says “I think it’s a tragedy what happened to these police officers”, for sure, I’m going to attract the attention of people that are in alignment with that view. At the same time, I’m going to attract people that are going to take that in a different way and say, “Oh my gosh, you’re supporting the police and what happened and all these kinds of things.”
I try and keep my personal views and opinions off of social media and keep it more private because I can give you a story upon story. I’ve been reading them every single day, the last week of people saying they are unfriending you on Facebook and that they’re going to stop doing business with you. They might also say that they are going to tell their friends to never do business with you ever again.
There was a white label digital agency — an agency that works for other agencies but under the agency umbrella — and this particular owner of that agency put something out on his profile that I won’t get into and what wasn’t very appropriate based on his views. They were his personal views. But all these people because it was public, all these people started seeing and he started losing clients left and right. There were comments like, “I can’t believe I was doing business with this particular person in this company.” So you really have to be very careful in what you’re putting out there.
At the end of the day, I can’t tell you that I encourage you to put some content out there or to send an email to your list, or to do a video. It really again comes back to the type of company that you have and the type of brand that you’re putting together. How personally involved you are within the brand, or not involved — it’s going to be a tough, tough sell, and it’s a tough win. Because you have to be neutral to the point where you’re not going to really offend either side, but know that you’re still going to offend someone.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you and I encourage you to really, this will sound cliche but really look more to your heart and what you want to reflect because, at the end of the day, the company is a reflection of the leader, owner, and the company itself. And if these are things that you strongly believe in, and you want people that are doing business with you to be in a like-minded mentality, then put some stuff out there. But just know that there’s going to be ramifications regardless of what you do.
I hope this was a little bit helpful to at least kind of teach you how I think through this because at the end of the day, it is an individual decision and it’s going to differ person by person or business by the business. I hope things continue to get better for you and improve all across the US and these are very, very trying times, but I’m hoping that things start to improve.
Get out there, make a change, and take some action.