Can retailers take on politics?

KEY THOUGHT: Some big, well-established retailers can take a political stand in a divided consumer base but small retailers in small towns can’t afford to allow politics into their social media feeds..EVER.

This week in a small city in Florida a new coffee shop posted a picture of a very divisive Florida politician drinking one of their coffees on their social media page. Today politics enrages us and you will hardly find anyone who doesn’t take a stand on people, politics, and politicians.

When I saw the post I said I wouldn’t oblige that retailer with my business because the politician in the picture is loathsome to me. Of course, the person who did their website responded by personally attacking me but that’s ok. I’ve had a lot of mud slung at me.

I spoke to some people at different social media agencies who all told me the same thing “unless your a huge brand or retailer like Starbucks you should never post a picture of any politician visiting your store unless he/she is beloved by the voters”.

According to research millennials do want brands to take a stand but they had better be careful. My Pillow founder is a huge Trump supporter and it has cost him customers and money. On the other side, Nabisco marketed multicolored Oreos in support of gay rights. Nabisco was able to turn their political activism into a lot of PR while My Pillow has suffered.

More than half (60%) of Americans say retailers should stick to what they know and not get involved in cultural or political matters, according to their analysis of data from Morning Consult. Posting a picture of a politician who is divisive is a great example.

In this era of political activism, no small retailer can or should in any way get involved in politics. If I see that a certain politician, whom I dislike, frequents a certain retailer I’m going to avoid that retailer. Is it unfair? Probably but I feel it’s my duty to be politically active.

Can retailers take on politics?