Companies have been taking positions on social and political issues for a number of years, but within the last year — with major policy changes being addressed in Washington — companies are more frequently getting involved in national debates.
Most recently FedEx and UPS began a public battle over gun control and discount benefits provided to National Rifle Association (NRA) members. Delta Airlines also announced discontinuing a discount that was previously offered to NRA members. While it may seem that taking a public position on an issue could alienate consumers, Drexel University’s Daniel Korschun, PhD, an associate professor of marketing in Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, says staying neutral could also hurt a company.
“Customers and employees are asking much more of companies that they used to,” Korschun said in a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company. “Political issues have become a window into what companies stand for.”
While every company is walking a tightrope between performance and values, consumers are increasingly using their purchasing power to influence companies, according to Korschun.
“Consumers are looking to corporations to make these decisions because the process isn’t as long as government,” he said. “Companies are more directly pushed and influenced by consumer sentiment.”
To view the full interview, click on the image below.