In the era of Black Lives Matter, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and the shooting at Pulse, many small business owners find themselves in a quandary. How do you balance your conscious/social activism and your cash flow? Can it be done or must one be sacrificed for the other?
There is a way to balance both although it does require being aware of your brand, your core audience and the causes you support.
With your brand, how you’ve positioned yourself in the past will have a direct bearing on how people “hear” what you’re saying now regarding issues. If you’ve been largely silent, you risk being seen as inauthentic and jumping on a bandwagon. Don’t let that stop you. When writing, speaking or sharing memes, try to avoid jargon and catch-phrases as well as over generalizations. Ensuring that what you say and share are direct reflections of your position will make both explaining and defending your beliefs and your involvement as a brand easier for people to accept. Don’t say one thing and support another.
Who are your clients, supporters and tribe? Do you know your audience well enough to predict, with a reasonable amount of surety, how they will receive your involvement? Depending on how well you track your metrics you may do your brand more harm than good by getting involved too quickly. Some things require immediate action, while others can and should simmer for a bit.
You may have to redefine success and your goals when you decide to become involved or continue in your social activism work, but I believe that it is worth it. If each of us can remember that we are like a spark that can spread a flame, we can affect the needed changes. There is work to be done and we all have a part to play to improve the lives of the global village.