Marketing Strategy Politics

Do Marketing and Politics Mix?

By Heather Friedman on October, 1 2018
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Heather Friedman

We're living in a time when many of us have CNN or NPR playing constantly in the background in an effort to keep up with the daily news, the latest drama or an ongoing crises. But what does that have to do with marketing? And, is embracing politics a good idea for a brand?

As recently as last year, the general advice was "Marketing + Politics = Disaster" (credit: Derek Halpern, Founder, SocialTriggers). But just this Wednesday, I was in a meeting where the client was discussing the Me Too movement, recent scandals in their industry and how they could effectively communicate their stance and their own history of guarding against sexual harassment.

It was important to them to take a stand—more important than "towing the line" and staying neutral on a hot topic. We worked together on strategies that allowed them to showcase their rich (and harassment-free) history and how they continue to maintain a positive workplace in an industry rocked by scandal.

Take the recent Nike ad featuring controversial NFL player, Colin Kaepernick, as an example of a political statement that has paid off in spades. Nike's stock surged to its all-time high just weeks after the ad's release. Yet in a recent New York Times article, the company admits they almost dropped the famous rebel for fear of damaging their partnership with the National Football League. 

Is it right for your brand to embrace a political issue?

Depends. Is it an issue that aligns fully with your company? Is it something that you can back up and are willing to lose some customers over? Are you able to "walk the talk"? For example, if you are going to take a stand on an issue like equal pay, you'd better first check that your company practices what it preaches. Authenticity is key to successfully executing a campaign that touches on a political issue.

Does your company have an issue that you want to champion? Is it part of your marketing strategy or just something you talk about internally but don't share externally? We can help integrate your beliefs into a campaign while maintaining focus on your product or service.

Drop us a line and tell us about your challenges.

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