Over the past few years, corporate leaders have worked to acclimate to a culture wherein there seemed to be an expectation that brands take a stand on every hot-button topic.
This, however, may no longer be the case.
American executives and business owners are rethinking their embrace of hot-button left-wing causes — or any political causes, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Chief Executive of PPG Industries Tim Knavish was quoted by the Wall Street Journal concerning his process for reevaluating the company’s strategy for getting involved in politically charged conversations.
“We run a business. We don’t run a political organization. We don’t run a religious organization, and we don’t run a social organization. However, [we] recognize that we operate in a society. We hire employees with opinions and views. We work with customers that have opinions and views. So we have to take all that into account,” Knavish said.
The public’s exhaustion with corporate activism has been particularly visible with regard to LGBTQ+ and transgender issues, especially in recent weeks as brands have been preparing Pride Month campaigns.
Target’s controversial Pride-themed displays and transgender product lines serve as a high-profile example of this. The campaign drew intense criticism on social media almost immediately, prompting them to move displays to less prominent in-store locations and in some cases remove items from stores altogether.
Then there’s Bud Light.
The Anheuser-Busch Companies’ decision to partner with transgender TikTok performer Dylan Mulvaney will be studied in business classes as an example of how to destroy a beloved brand.
Despite this push back, corporations nonetheless feel pressured to enter the political fray.
“Many executives say quietly they are tired of being pulled into divisive topics and would prefer to avoid them. But many said it is unrealistic for a company to say it will never comment on a social or political matter,” WSJ reported.
Some brands, however, aren’t taking the bait.
Bob Parsons, founder of Parsons Xtreme Golf, told the Wall Street Journal that he prefers to stay out political matters as much as possible.
“Both Republicans and Democrats—far left, far right—all buy golf clubs. “Why hit the beehive with a stick?” Parsons told WSJ.
A Maine Wire report has shown that several of Maine’s largest brands have donated to at least one left-wing group that is currently lobbying in favor of late-term abortion and against parental rights in education.