Taking a Stand

Taking a stand can be scary. Especially with your business.  We live in a time where businesses are the most trusted, more than government officials, more than news outlets. And yet, consumers are more informed than ever and are not afraid to wield their spending power to ‘cancel’ those who misstep.

It’s no secret that Ben & Jerry’s is not shy about standing up for their values, they do it so often, its become and integral piece of their brand. The quote on the left from Ben Cohen was his response to our question on the Responsibly Different™ Podcast, is Ben & Jerry’s ever concerned about mixing politics with ice cream? He continued to share with us the importance and value of standing up for what you believe in. 

"You just got to stand up for what you believe in. You got to. Essentially what Ben & Jerry's does, is we stand up for justice."


In today’s socially conscious world, businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of aligning their values with the values of their customers. Taking a stand on social and political issues can have a significant impact on a company’s brand perception and financial performance. Several examples demonstrate how companies that have boldly expressed their beliefs and taken action have experienced positive outcomes.

One such example is the response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting in 2018. Dick’s Sporting Goods, along with Walmart, made a public announcement that they would no longer sell assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, while also implementing an age restriction on gun sales. This decision garnered significant attention and support, as tweets mentioning Dick’s Sporting Goods increased by a staggering 12,000% over the company’s 10-day average. Furthermore, 79% of these tweets displayed a positive sentiment. The positive response was reflected in the market as well, with the company’s stock rising by 0.69% the day following the announcement [source: Forbes].

Nike is another prime example of a company that successfully took a stand for what it believed in. In 2018, Nike launched an advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player known for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Despite initial backlash, Nike’s brand value soared by $6 billion following the campaign. This significant increase demonstrates the positive impact that taking a stand on a divisive issue can have on a company’s bottom line [source: Forbes].


Research consistently indicates that younger generations, such as millennials and Gen Zers, are more likely to support companies that make their social and political opinions known. According to a Forbes Agency Council expert panel, this demographic prefers businesses that are transparent about their values. In fact, more than two-thirds of younger survey respondents consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when deciding which brands to buy. The authenticity of a company’s stance on social issues, particularly diversity, equity, and inclusion, is highly valued by younger consumers [source: McKinsey].


Not only do consumers care about companies taking a stand, but they also expect businesses to follow through with action. Over 60% of US consumers agree that brands that issue statements supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion must back up their words with concrete actions. Failure to do so may result in brands being perceived as exploitative or opportunistic [source: McKinsey].

Moreover, diversity and inclusion are crucial in today’s business landscape. McKinsey’s research spanning five years and 1,000 companies in 15 countries revealed a strong connection between diversity in company leadership and financial outperformance. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 25% more likely to outperform those in the bottom quartile, while companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity had a 36% higher likelihood of outperforming their less diverse counterparts. Additionally, attracting and retaining talent is heavily influenced by a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. A significant portion of millennials and people of color are unwilling to work for companies that fail to address racial inequality or lack inclusive mindsets and actions [source: McKinsey].

Businesses have a unique opportunity to use their platform and influence to take a stand for what they believe in. By embracing social and political issues and aligning their values with those of their customers, companies can enhance their brand perception, attract younger consumers, and drive financial success. The key lies in authenticity, transparency, and consistent action. In an increasingly diverse and socially conscious world, businesses that prioritize both value and values will be best positioned for long-term success, so long as those values are authentic to the makeup of the business. 


What’s most important, is authenticity. Being honest about where you are in your journey, the values you hold dear, and your commitment to growing and being better. Consumers can tell when it’s just a marketing campaign, or when you are genuinely doing the right thing for the right reasons. Below are a few steps you can take to help find your voice and take a stand for what you believe in. 

1. Identify the unique ways your business can have a positive impact. Is it through your supply chain? Is it through your product sales? Is it through how you work with your team? Your reality will likely be a mix or blend of all of these. Get clear on it and how it influences or changes your mission statement

2. Measure your current impacts, the good and the bad. Where can you reduce or eliminate waste and harm? Where can you grow and expand the positive impact? You can’t begin to plan until you know where you are. This inventory process is critical. A great exercise if you’ve never done it, is to write an impact report. This will hold you accountable to measurement and will help you create a roadmap to success.  

3. Once you know your key impact areas where you can do better and grow, work with a trusted team to help you create a plan to set yourselves up for success. Often bringing in a consultant at this juncture is a great idea. We’re happy to chat with you to see if our services are a good fit for you. 

This is not an overnight process. This is something you will likely be iterating on and growing in for many years to come, as you should. For we can’t do better if we don’t know better. Keep learning, keep growing.