To me, social posturing by companies during crisis is a long-term negative. Speaking out and attempting to differentiate your company may have short-term market gain but pushing a social agenda is not a position I would recommend.
Nike, is a perfect example. A great Brand with plenty of pricing power, Nike has become a voice for several social causes and so far this has ‘worked’. Nike’s major market is urban youth, one of the most disloyal of consumer groups. Urban youth driven by ‘fads’ and the ‘famous’ not politics and social discourse. Yet, Nike has been very careful in selecting which social issues to ‘market’.
If your business is going to speak out and take a social position you have to be solid – meaning you can’t be vague in your position, follow-the-leader, or be concerned about the political ramifications of alienating current and future customers.
Leadership is a changing management skill. Today, boldness, conviction, and decisiveness are the skills needed to build brand equity and re-enforce customer loyalty.
Jim Lavorato is the founder of 4M Performance which is designed to assist businesses to survive and thrive in these uncertain times. Jim launched an entertainment-related company in 1988. He was at the forefront in cinema technology and helped spearhead the movie industry's transition to digital presentation and distribution. He also co-founded the Arboreal Group, an environmental consultancy. He has published articles on the motion picture and media industries and is a contributing editor for ScreenTrade magazine and writes a blog "Cinema Mucho Gusto". He is a certified SCORE Mentor in the SCORE Greater Phoenix Chapter and lives in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more about Jim in his "About" page.
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