We live in the era of the professional victim. No matter what one says or does, someone will be offended. Of course, offended people spend money as well, so the question that should be asked is, is playing it safe the best strategy for my brand or company?
Now, stay with me. I will clarify what I mean.
The old adage of stay away from politics and faith when it comes to business is pretty sound; however, what if playing it safe is making you fly below the radar – missing a ton of sales? You may think, how would I GAIN sales if I offend a portion of the market? Let’s take a look.
Again, remember I said there’s a professional victim everywhere, for every topic you can think of. If you support Christmas, someone will say it’s offensive to those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ. If you choose to fly the American flag, someone will scream America is a racist nation who’s damaged the world. If you believe hard work and discipline is the way to success, someone will say that’s easy for you to say, since I don’t want to work that hard, make it easier for me.
Staying quiet about where you stand may not garner any wrath or praise; but it also won’t garner any attention. It’s like bad PR (public relations) is better than none. However, if you took a stand, responsibly (not necessarily shoving your perspective down one’s throat, but not shying away from it when necessary), you will attract those who agree with you. And those who agree with you are more than those who are apathetic and don’t know you exist.
Al Ries states in his book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate them at your own risk, “…it always comes down to a two-horse race.” What does he mean? Competition always comes down to first and second place, with each typically being the antithesis of the other. Like Democrat and Republican, pro-choice and pro-life, Apple and Microsoft, Google and Bing – everyone else is a “me-too” company. Few people like “me-too” companies, they typically side with one or two, BECAUSE THEY STAND FOR SOMETHING! Don’t miss that crucial point!
Another of his laws says, “Anything anyone else would claim, don’t claim. Anything anyone else would say, don’t say. You must differentiate yourself.” In other words, who is going to say they are the expensive, low-quality, bad customer-service company? No one! So these things are implied and supported in how you say what you say. Finally, Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good! That means you stood for something.”
So where’s the bigger demographic? In several surveys, I’ve found the following pertaining to societal, economic and faith norms.
According to Huffington Post, in an article dated May 25, 2015, it found that America was equally split at 31% each, when it came to social views. Which implies the remaining 38% of moderates would most likely be equally split as well.
If this is the case, would abstaining from choosing a side make you more or less likely to gain a majority of customers? Again, keeping in mind that taking a responsible stance will put you on the radar and many who didn’t know you, or shopped elsewhere would now notice your brand. You will lose some customers, you will retain some and you will draw like-minded prospects wanting to support their views – because it’s never about you; it’s always about them!
However, when it comes to economic issues, a clear majority – twice as many – agree with the conservative belief. Again, leaving 32% of moderates, of which will grow the fiscally-responsible demographic, because a good portion will agree as well. Therefore, if you agree with conservative economic policy, that slice of the pie is massive.
According to the Washington Examiner, 76% pf Americans believe in God; while 38% try to live their lives according to what God asks. That’s a HUGE demographic that many, in this politically-correct world, try to avoid. Wouldn’t it make sense to take a stand? If one identifies with faith and your business is known for believing in God, it would stand to reason that 76% is the logical demographic one would tap.
Now I’m not saying be cynical – in other words, don’t claim to believe something you don’t because there is economic gain. What I AM saying is be true to yourself. Hiding what you stand for causes conflicts in one’s heart and mind, and affects everything else – including business. Therefore, if you have a certain belief, you can make it known without being arrogant, putting you on today’s politically-charged radar, so those who agree with you will come to you know you exist and support you.
So what do you believe? What’s important to you? Is there a demographic that would support your beliefs? If so, would tapping that demographic be financially sufficient to help your business thrive? Remember, there’s only one Walmart – you cannot be everything to everyone. However, if you serve your demographic truthfully, with respect and caring, you will have tapped your niche!