There’s a lot going in the world—civil wars, terrorism, and a myriad of issues on the home front. Today, I tweeted, “Repeat after me, tweeting about politics will change no one’s position. It will only polarize those who disagree with me… I mean us.” This tweet was meant for me. It was tweeted to me, from me, as a reminder to stay out of the fray. Controversy is not a branding opportunity, and I’m part of a brand. The tweet was naive because it ignores the fact that controversial social media posts not only polarizes those who disagree, but attracts those who share your opinions. My wife tweets semi-anonymously and shares her opinions on controversial subjects, attracting like-minded followers. But she’s not in business; she’s not building a brand. That’s all good, but I haven’t answered the question, have I?
Yes, There is a Place for Business in Politics
Businesses have supported politicians and parties since government was invented. Industries create and finance lobbies to protect and advance their interests. Organizations contribute to politicians who accommodate their needs. Is it selfish and self-serving? Most likely, but not always and not entirely.
For example, TKO supports the trucking industry. We know the industry, we’ve made friends for over 25 years, and we do business with many. We have openly supported legislation that advances the interests of the trucking industry. Is this self serving? Yes it is, but it’s a lot more. It’s true these are our customers, and restrictions that affect the industry affect us, but it’s more than that. We care about trucking, we care about our friends, we want what’s best for them, and we believe what’s best for trucking is almost always what’s best for America.
But, It’s Not the Place for Personal Opinion
Business is not the place for sharing your own beliefs unless they match your organization’s. I strongly support the trucking industry, as does TKO, so we’re aligned. I write about it. I share pro-trucking platforms on social media. I don’t share my personal non-industry related politics. Last week, I distributed political information at a local college. I was nameless. I wasn’t part of business brand. When you represent your brand, you should avoid controversy. A business is responsible to its customers, vendors, and employees—sharing controversial opinions and political beliefs can greatly hurt business, which in turn, can affect everyone.