14 May, 2021
What is business’ role in political, moral and societal issues? If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know our position on this already. But this week, we read a Times article that truly stunned us.
The article describes how, in today’s secular society, a moral void has opened up. Companies have stepped in to fill this void by taking a stand on societal issues, which, according to the writer, is not welcome. He goes on to warn that companies do not have feelings, let alone morals.
Which of course they don’t. But the people that work within them do, and are fundamental to a company’s success. This idea that brands could remain neutral and pretend they aren’t part of the world, but exist in a vacuum, impervious to the waves of social change and action around them is almost more dangerous than anything else. It’s the antithesis of the powering belief that led us to found Good Business 25 years ago – the brands which drive progress succeed. Their futures are entirely dependent on being a part of society.
Of course, brands don’t always get it right. There are countless examples of companies being caught out for ‘woke washing’ – from posting black squares on social media without strong D&I policies in place, to celebrating ‘eco’ products without eradicating child labour in their supply chain. However, when a company takes a stand in a real and substantive way, they have the power and influence to drive positive change.
In the end brands are created by a group of people coming together to create something which they believe other people would come towards. The best brands are expression of those people. So of course they have points of view and care about particular things and seek to contribute to the world in a way that reflects their beliefs.
Brands that are detached from the world have lost this link to people. And the people behind them have lost their chance to create change. We want everyone to be involved in making the world the best place to live in it can be.
By Jennie Mitchell