Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Standing Up to Trump is Synonymous with Protecting your Brand

The times are changing and resisting this presidency may be a smarter play than trying to play it safe by staying under the radar. There was a time when openly contradicting the president of the United States was unthinkable. However, in the context of Donald Trump, failing to do so may represent a serious risk. Consumers want companies to take an ethical stand and they will reward companies with loyalty for being responsible corporate citizens. They will also punish companies for failing to do so. Many CEOs have come to the realization that it is safer to speak out than it is to be quietly complicit with the Trump administration. This is why they are openly refuting this president in ever growing numbers.  This includes some of the CEOs of leading corporate organizations.

In most instances it is not merely a matter of conscience it is a strategic calculation based on their long term best interest. For consumer facing brands there really is little choice.

Despite his repeated claims to the contrary, Trump has demonstrated that he is both bad at business and bad for business.Shortly after coming to power Trump was forced to disband his business councils as the high profile team of leaders abandoned him in droves.  This president has shown himself to be on the wrong side of a number of issues ranging from respect for diversity to climate change.

Shortly after Trump took power corporate leaders began refuting Trump and  advocating for sustainability. Over time this has increased as the heads of business call out Trump for his wrong-minded disregard for sustainability.  Companies are resisting Trump and rejecting his false narrative that regulations are bad for business.

There are benefits associated with climate action that make sustainability an unparalleled opportunity. While businesses are engaging in climate action Trump and his Republican minions refuse to factor the costs of climate change.

Even Trump's tax scam is a massive gift to corporations that has ballooned the deficit without the promised economic benefits. His trade wars and resulting tariffs have hurt businesses across the country.

Leaders have a choice they can embrace growing anti-Trump sentiments or they can remain quiet and hope to ride out the storm of this dysfunctional presidency.  They problem is that while the Trump presidency will end within the next couple of years failing to stand up to his malfeasance could stick to a company for a very long time.

In the same way that media organizations closed ranks when attempts were made to curtail press freedoms, corporations, particularly sustainability focused companies need to organize and stand together in the face of this president's crooked agenda.

We have seen waves of corporate goodness that bodes well for the future.  This is a Spartacus moment.  As intimated by the 2018 midterm elections a time is coming when it will not be possible to remain on the sidelines. For some it may already be too late.

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