I am involved with an organization that was about to hold its annual meeting and benefit at the Union League in Philly. As many may know, the Union League club is in the middle of center city, is a lovely club, and has a bit of a George Bush republican type history. While I am not a member, I have always enjoyed their hospitality. Recently, the Union League held an event for Gov. Ron Desantis. Apparently, the membership of my group decided that was a bridge too far and withdrew en masse from the event. The Club was gracious and did not keep our deposit, but it was a lesson learned.
The Bud Light marketing person who tried to reframe or redirect the brand is no longer with the company either.
So, commercial businesses remain very sensitive to popular outrage or opinion or the general mood of its customers. The willingness to yield to pressure has shown a lot of success in the business ecosystem. For example, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is one of the most watched hosts in prime time tv, but he has extremely limited ad support because of his racist/polarizing/nutty/hypocritical opinions expressed on his show. Basically, big business has decided that supporting Tucker is bad for business. Similarly, I no longer buy Goya beans. And, while beans are a big part of my life as I am vegan, mostly, I just find other brands. Goya’s boss came out fervently for Trump and I choose to purchase elsewhere. Whether it harms Goya I don’t know, but I vote with my wallet on that product.
Why does this matter? Gerrymandering has greatly curtailed the response that politicians have to the electorate. Change in politics takes a long time and customers/citizens lose interest or feel that their votes have limited effect and hence either give up voting or don’t try to effect change.
I think that people in general are far more willing to vocalize their opinions both post-Trump and post pandemic. That willingness to speak out may have more of an effect than we saw in the past. However, if you are a part of working with organizations in your free time or for your actual job, it seems like we all need to re-evaluate how not only the organization’s actions are viewed, but how its choice of purveyors and partners are viewed.