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To Take or Not to Take a Social Stand, Which Poses More Risk?

Apart from the usual risks that threaten to damage brand reputation, not taking a social stand can also pose a risk. As per a Glassdoor survey, 60 percent of employees prefer their companies to take a stand in the socio-political sector. In this article Steve Cody and Steve Goodwin discuss the positive aspects of taking a social stand.

Should Companies Take a Social Stand?

Nike took a social stand by supporting former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the National Football League controversy. He took a knee when the national anthem was playing in the background to protest ‘racism, social inequality, and police brutality,’ as per the NY Times. The immediate public reaction was negative with Nike’s stock price dropping by 3 percent. The situation turned around for the brand with a 31% increase in online sales. Its value shot up to $6 billion in the following weeks. This type of social stand requires careful planning. Risk managers can help you out with the following:

  1. The Driving Need: What ethics do your company hold close to heart? This is what makes the employees stayed motivated to come to work every day. Keep that drive in mind when you are taking a social stand on a political or social issue. Employees will give you a shout-out if it aligns with the values they agreed upon while joining the company.
  2. Research Who Would Support Your Cause: If you know your stakeholders well, you would have quality responses for their reactions. Without thorough research, you will be incapable of reacting and might lose projects after taking a social stand.
  3. Find Out the Trending Topics: Just as the risk managers monitor risks across the organization, find the topics that are trending. Analyzing the problems companies faced after they took a stand would allow you to choose yours wisely.
  4. Auditing the Standing Risk: When taking a social stand also enters your risk portfolio, you need an impersonal auditor to verify. They must scrutinize your messages, social media channels, partners, and sponsors. You do not want to ruin a longstanding client relationship by supporting the opposite side.
  5. Simulate the Stand: Have a couple of topics and test them out internally. It will give an insight into what is waiting for you outside the company. Include all types of test subjects—C-suite executives, research groups, customers, vendors, etc.

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