Should Your Brand Participate in Political Discussion?

March 28, 2012Leave a reply
Post by: , Chiropractic Social Media Marketing Manager

For the most part, politics, religion, and sex have been off limits to business owners and brands. But, in case you didn’t notice, 2012 is an election year. This pretty much guarantees that political beliefs are going to run rampant and ruin, what had been, many good brands. Until the age of social media, this hadn’t been much of an issue only because very few small business owners had enough reach to do significant damage. This all changed with the rise of social media, now even the smallest of businesses can make large waves by going viral.

For a recent example you don’t need to look any further than the latest KONY 2012 campaign. On March 5, 2012 the Invisible Children organization released a 30-minute video on YouTube that literally went viral overnight. The video resulted in increased scrutiny of the organization finances, actions abroad, and the organization’s motives which almost instantly negated 10 years of hard work. By the time the traditional media and the blogosphere got finished with the organization their primary goal for the film, which was to raise awareness for the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony, was a distant memory.

So with a fresh example of what can go wrong still in our minds, the question has been asked “Should a brand get involved in a political discussion?” And, we firmly answer… maybe.

If your brand is commodity based and relies on single transactions based on impulse decisions like retail stores or neighborhood restaurants then participating in political discussion is high risk and low reward. Don’t do it!

But, if you offer a premium product to an exclusive community then participating in political discussion may add value to the product in the eyes of your clientele. Then realistically, this is still high risk, low reward. Still don’t do it!

There are, however, some rare cases when it makes sense to venture into the political arena. Let’s say, for example, your business sells poster boards, permanent markers, and American flags… in this case getting political would be low risk, high reward.

But chances are you are like the rest of us and you offer a legitimate product to a wide range of people. In that case staying away from politics, religion, and sex is good advice. Sadly, there will still be a few small business owners who will not heed this warning and will venture into the political arena in hopes of gaining Joe the Plumber like notoriety.

And, to those crazy… er, brave entrepreneurs our advice is to tread carefully. If you are one of those brave souls then do yourself a favor and follow these 6 tips to minimize your ability to cause irreparable harm to your brand and credibility.

No Insults- Nothing ruins your credibility faster than insulting the other participants of the conversation. It is possible to have a disagreement on policy without insulting the intelligence of the other party.

No Freak-outs- The internet is full of trolls whose only reason for existence is to get a reaction out of you. Don’t take the bait. In the words, of the great Jay-Z, “A wise man told me don’t argue with fools ’cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who.”

No Straw Men- To attack a straw man means to stray from the original point, create an alternate argument, and refute it. This gives the impression of a victory despite the fact that the original point was never addressed.

No False Dilemmas- We’ve all heard the saying that there are multiple ways to skin a cat. False dilemmas try to erase this mindset. A false dilemma occurs when a person presents two choices as if they are the only choices that can be made in a situation.

No Red Herrings- A red herring is an argument that is intended to be misleading or distracting from the actual issue. Married couples are the masters of this tactic. For example, the wife says, “Would it kill you to wash your dishes every once in a while?” The husband responds, “I don’t know, would it kill you to turn the lights off when you leave a room?”

No Ad Hominems- If you can’t beat a person’s logic then you can always discredit the source right? Wrong. Ad Hominems are attempts to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.

If you avoid these 6 fallacies of debate then we can’t guarantee that your brand won’t take a hit political discussion but it will give you a fighting chance.

If you are ready to make the leap into internet marketing or you are tired of “here today – gone tomorrow” internet marketing tactics then give ChiroPractice a call at 877-244-7601. Our Google certified internet marketers can help you take your wellness business to the next level!