The business pros and cons of speaking out politically

Psst….This is the fourth part of our 5-Part series on business and politics. Click on the links to read the related posts (released weekly):

How does politics influence business?

How can your company’s brand advertising impact politics?
Why consider affiliating your business with political issues?
The business pros and cons of speaking out politically
14 considerations when mixing business and politics

The business pros and cons of speaking out politically

Intermingling your business with political positions is not often straightforward. There are clear pros and cons for whichever way you decide to go. If you choose to stick with social convention and not speak about politics, you gain a certain emotional safety while losing democratic freedoms. If you make a stand and align yourself with a political position, you may gain a loyal group of customers and build a strong company culture, while losing other business that is not aligned with your position.

We’ve outlined many more pros and cons below of both staying politically silent, or becoming politically involved with your business.

  • You might have strong convictions and feel an emotional release when you express strongly held views
  • You might attract like-minded people into your sphere of influence
  • You might strengthen your connection with people who already share your views
  • The positions you take might align and support your brand’s promise
  • If you escalate your political involvement, you might be able to influence popular support or policy. People sometimes perceive business leaders as having higher status than the average Joe, which puts you in a position of authority. Consider too, however, that there’s also a high level of distrust for large corporations and their leaders.
  • If you’re unliked to benefit yet still support a certain position, then that support can demonstrate that you care more about the position rather than your self-interest (this might not be the case if you only support issues that align with your self-interest).
  • Politics can at times bring out what’s most passionate in you and that authenticity can be attractive to others.
  • You might avoid long-term entanglements with unlike-minded people
  • You might alienate a portion of your customer base. Most people worry about backlash resulting in missed opportunities. To be fair, some apolitical folks might not care
  • People might make generalisations about you when you share politically aligned positions
  • It might make you appear unfocused and might distract from your message
  • Your views may make your audience feel inadequate or uninformed
  • You might betray the purpose behind why people followed or subscribed to you in the first place, and they may become annoyed and unfollow you
  • Keeping your mouth shut helps keep you under the radar should things go against your opinion at a later date
  • You might feel safer and in alignment with social norms
  • You can avoid any backlash and differences of opinion, especially if you prefer to avoid conflict
  • You can let others do the heavy lifting intellectually while you go make money
  • You can avoid uncomfortable emotions or people who display uncomfortable emotions
  • Reality can be troubling; avoiding the fray enables you to avoid thinking about inconvenient truths
  • You might be perceived as a good foot soldier of the established order as opposed to “rocking the boat’. This can be especially useful as your society slips further and further into authoritarianism
  • Avoiding what everyone is talking about can make you appear ignorant; or worse, apathetic, of what matters more than your brand at this moment
  • You might appear self-centred
  • You may end up dealing with people that do not align with your core values
  • You may experience cognitive dissonance when bad things happen and you remain silent
  • You may be part of an escalating problem by not speaking out (who will speak for you when you inevitably become a target?)
  • You are not participating in your democracy
  • You might one day lose the freedoms of speech and assembly if you don’t use them
  • By not speaking out, you make room for those who hold potentially devastatingly incorrect positions to have a relatively larger voice (e.g. climate change denial)

Next week we’ll look at some considerations for using these pros and cons to successfully link your business with politics. How do you navigate some of the cons above while taking advantage of the pros? How can you leverage your positioning and strengths to support your democracy in a way that also supports your business?

(NOTE: Want to see how your practice marketing measures up against the best in class? Take this 5-minute quiz to see how you stack up in the 9 areas of practice marketing and get specific tips and advice on how you can improve your weak points and better leverage your strengths).

About the author

Rod Solar
Founder & Fractional CMO

Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people through vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.

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Rod Solar

Founder & Fractional CMO

Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK