Companies are being called to task on their political positions in these times of intense division. But is it enough to affect the bottom line?
New Balance, the popular sneaker company, finds itself in an interesting position amid an American population that is distinctly, profoundly out of balance. An executive at the company came under fire after making statements in support of President-elect Donald Trump, specifically Trump’s stances on trade and domestic business.
Taking the quote as a complete endorsement of the President-elect, many Trump supporters, including members of the alt-right, heralded New Balance the official shoe for white people. The rapidly mobilizing left who oppose Trump responded with a vicious backlash against the brand, burning sneakers, rallying behind hashtags, and adding the brand to a growing list of companies to boycott because of their existing business relations with Trump or his family.
For corporations, the next four years will be a delicate balancing act. Employees and customers who oppose Trump’s positions will want the company to speak out, while Trump supporters will be watching to boycott or protest.
New Balance tried to stem the tide of bad PR by denouncing its new racists fans’ endorsement, but ultimately still finds itself on a living document of brands that Trump supporters are either supporting or boycotting.
GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney responded to the election with an email to employees. The subject line read:So… that happened… what’s next?
Maloney wrote in the email:
Further I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can. As we all try to understand what this vote means to us, I want to affirm to anyone on our team that is scared or feels personally exposed, that I and everyone else here at Grubhub will fight for your dignity and your right to make a better life for yourself and your family here in the United States.
If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here.
A charitable reading of it is that he said no one who is nationalistic and anti-immigrant should work at GrubHub, but the conservative sphere read it as Donald Trump supporters should quit.
Those supporters added GrubHub to a list on the subreddit r/TheDonald, which features companies, organizations, and individuals Trump supporters should embrace and those they should boycott. Some are listed for isolated events.Taco Bell is there solely because one location fired an employee who refused to serve cops in July.
Others on the support tally include Home Depot, NASCAR, and WWE. Trump supporters are urged to boycott Netflix, Oreos, and GrubHub for various reasons.
But the list is ever changing, evidenced by the chats happening below. Trump supporters are mixed on whether to boycott all supporters of liberal causes and the Clinton campaign, or just those who have come out against Trump.
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Jimmie Wilks, MBA, MA, CAP
SCM Management Consultant & Online Marketing Guy
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