Politicized Consumers: Tell the Boss to Shut-Up about Trump

The election has left many deeply scared, others second guessing their decisions, and Trump supporters more diligent than ever. No matter where you fall in this spectrum there are some indisputable facts:

  1. He won and is the President
  2. He did NOT win the popular vote
  3. He does not seem likable
  4. He is extremely petty

But wait before you go after me in the comments, he did indeed win the Electoral College and won the Presidency. He did not win the poplar not matter how you count or recount it. Even the most unwavering supporter must admit he has a scowl on his face at all times, he seems very angry, and you rarely see him smile (he frightens children). Some of the things he says are alarming like his comments to Bill O’Reily comparing the actions of America to those of Russian President Putin. And his pettiness is well-documented all over twitter where he has found time to go after Nordstroms, Meryl Streep, Saturday Night Live, and a U.S. Circuit Judge. Even a supporter must secretly cringe and think, “Cut it out already, you are the President for goodness sake.”

I mention all of this because this whole election was about ethics, jobs and emails, right? Okay so, as CEO or Boss of a company that hires people and sell a product or service, you must be careful about praising Trump in public. Why?

You may think he’s good for business, but over 66,000,000 people disagree with you, and in that 66,000,000 are your customers, brand ambassadors, and employees.

Just about every day that he has been President there has been a protest or march. People don’t like his views or character, so when you as the leader of your company send a donation, join he advisory council or offer public support you risk damaging your business.

Example #1:

UBER: CEO Travis Kalanick joined Trump’s Advisory council and immediately the public responded with a #DeleteUber social media campaign resulting in over 200,000 people deleting the app and using Lyft instead. And while Travis was working with Trump and disappointing his customers, Lyft’s CEO pledged $1,000,000 to the ACLU, which is fighting Trump’s travel ban tooth and nail. Now Travis has stepped down from the President’s Advisory Board (at least publicly). I wonder how much money and market share that cost Uber? In fairness, there are other high profile CEOs still on that Board, like Elon Musk of Telsa and SpaceX, and Mary Barra of GM, we’ll just have to see if there is anymore backlash.

Under Armour: This one is new, it just broke the second week in February. First, Under Armour CEO, Kevin Planks said Trump was a “real asset” to US companies. Doesn’t sound too bad huh? Well when you have celebrity endorsers like Stephen Curry, NBA World Champion from the Golden State Warrior, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the biggest box-office draw in the world, and Misty Copeland, history making Ballerina – all of African American decent, you bet your sweet behind it’s a big deal. Millions of dollars are at stake because each of them expressed their displeasure with Planks’ words. Under Armour has since denounced Trump’s travel ban.

This is a big deal folks, as the President continues to tell women in his office that they should dress like a woman, and troll people over the internet, his likability will suffer, some companies have told their employees, that if you support Trump, you should quit – like Grubhub.

In fairness some companies like L.L. Bean has seen a boost from Trump’s words of praise. It’s still pretty risky and now consumers are letting their displeasure with brand be known through their purchases? Check out this article from MSN Money

Look, it’s okay to love and support your President, but be careful because odds are your employee don’t and you can’t replace them all, remember we have that pesky skills gap to deal with.

Leave a Reply