Is showing your political color a good idea for your jewelry business? In this weird 2020, you didn't have to deal only with a pandemic. This is an election year in the U.S., too. While the rest of the world watches what will happen, we will explore this blog if showing your political colors -as a business is part of the deal today.
Although many wish this year to be done with, we have to admit that it has also been (and still is) a fascinating time.
We have gone from applauding medical staff to protesting against wearing masks, from sharing videos about people singing on balconies to mass protests. And then came election time. A president who treated the pandemic and the scientists with much contempt. What to think? Who to believe?
In our cultures, we observe a change in the making. We see that there is a longing for connection. We see a call for equality for women, people of all races and colors, disabilities, and other challenges. We long to feel inclusivity.
And all this was already picked up by the most forward-thinking marketing teams and companies in luxury and fashion before the pandemic showed up.
If we talk about showing values, we inevitably get sucked into politics too. But is this ok? I'll share my own opinion on the matter later in this article.
As a non-US resident, I look with incredulous eyes at the current president. The things he says, the things he gets away with. And every time you think, his voters won't accept this. But they do. Surely, he must have done some things right too.
And while it may seem for a European person far from home, the influence of populist parties and people stretching the idea of what democracy and decency should look like is happening in our own backyards too—smaller scale, but undeniably there.
Let's go back to jewelry and marketing. We have talked about the value of inclusivity. So many are convinced that this longing is omnipresent. For one, I am standing up and telling brands to seek their inner values and create the brand identity itself, incorporating these values in everything they communicate. Internally and externally.
But is your political view a part of this value? And does "everyone" long for connection and inclusivity in the way we portray it in marketing today?
It was one of the etiquette rules for a long time: don't talk about politics and religion. Having said that, if you have a very intelligent and open-minded person in front of you, you probably enjoy discussing these two topics. However, it's just a common rule that most of us applied. But without wanting to jump too deep into the origin of this new attitude: today, we are "forced" to show our true colors, especially when it comes to politics. Besides trying to be inclusive and not offend anyone, some brands go as far as blue or red in the United States, Democrat or Republican.
Look, selling more to people, creating loyal fans, having your brand as a household name is only achieved by playing a role in people's lives. You want them, this is the dream, to emotionally connect with your brand. You accomplish that by being meaningful and present in their lives. Easier said than done, but in short: this is what it is.
Large companies are often owned by investors. Not only are most of them in it for only the money (profit, profit, profit, and then some) they are- simply said- not deeply invested in the daily policy of running a brand. They leave that to others.
Some of the bigger investors love the tax-cutting-for-the-rich-policies of Trump and are amongst the big donors of his (re)election fundings.
From Wendy's to Snapchat, from New Balance to Estée Lauder, the Miami Dolphins franchise to SoulCycle, all brands are now associated with supporting Trump. Whatever the people running these businesses daily believe themselves.
Now, if you are a Democrat or simply don't want to put up with four more years of Trump, you ought to show that with your wallet. That's how we "hurt" them the most. Right?
This is not an easy task. We are becoming more informed every single day-a blessing but in disguise. Being conscious allows us to make choices that are important to us. As a vegetarian, animal lover, and as part of a family that loves to eat meat, I am constantly making choices—less meat for them and only bio meat with 3*** of the animal welfare certification. But I can't check that on every single product. So I do my very best. And to be so conscious and sensitive, someone who thinks and wants to respect everything and everyone is becoming more and more stressful. I don't want to lie to you about that.
I would like to say to jewelry retailers and brands: don't share your political color or view that much. As a client, if you want to know where someone stands for, then perhaps don't choose a company owned by an investor's club.
Go to your local jeweler, gym (privately owned), choose products with a conscience, and not under the umbrella of a large corporation. Unless that large corporation is one of the "good guys."
It would be a good thing to adopt some form of etiquette again. Keep your political view and religious beliefs to yourself. Be gracious and kind.
Being inclusive means that you would also accept people with different religious and political beliefs. Without discussing if they are wrong or right.
And attempting to stretch your thoughts and openness a little further; inclusivity means perhaps also understanding the other.
The person that you feel you have least in common with.
It's all way more complex, and a jewelry blog is hardly the place to have this discussion. But I think that what I said in my earlier blog: empathy is what creates inclusivity.
Empathy is what is needed to connect with others. To make the right choices, whether you are a Republican or Democrat. Understand others, be curious, and accept a different point of view.
When in doubt, be kind :-)