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Politics and Brands: Beware with the mixture

Some months ago, a reporter asked me to what extent I thought the manifestations of brands were relevant about themes that are purely political in nature. The episode of the invasion of the Capitol in Washington was the reason for the question. Brands like Chevron, Coca-Cola, and Ben & Jerry’s manifested themselves about the absurdity of what happened. But the Capitol was only one example.

This is one of those discussions where public positioning is as important as it is risky. As soon as the reporter asked the question, I went to the mirror and, unsure, looked at myself: Jaime, you have an opinion on the subject, don’t you? So, it is better to say what you think, because silence, in this case, is a terrible adviser.

So, here goes what I think and what I said. I believe that brands’ supreme compromise is with society and not with the market. By the way, I am convinced that the market is an expression that only represents a technical abstraction that hides its true reality and nature: people.

Very well, this compromise with society demands, in first place, that brands be rooted in legitimate values and principles, that they not only speak, but practice. Or, as they say in English, companies must walk the talk. Fulfill their main objective: tend to clients and consumers, and well, people.

If, in addition to doing this well, if, in addition to being competent in handing in their "homework correctly", they believe that they must participate in the political arena, the demands change. What are these demands?

The first sine qua non condition to enter, even if eventually in this arena, is: never be an opportunist. With all of the transparency that the digital world gave us, the upstarts are discovered much earlier than they might suppose. And the worst is when they are unmasked inside the home, that is, when its own collaborators know that the nice phrases of its leaders and their public manifestations are a cerca-lourenço discussion.

The second condition is inner clarity about itself. “Only those who sufficiently and honestly know what the company represents before the society has the right to act before the world and say what others should do. Those who don’t have clarity about the nature of its Purpose, and that can’t align their external speech and communication in a coherent way with it, should stay quiet. Beyond this, let’s not forget, Purpose has a central power in the life of an organization, but even so, it doesn’t serve as support for lousy initiatives and even less so opportunistic initiatives. It’s like the bayonets, in the phrase attributed to Napoleon: “Like the bayonets, you can do everything, except one thing: sit on top of them.”

The third condition is being ready to face another battle ground. It is the ground of political and ideological consistency. As much as the internal segments of an organization pressure it so that it becomes involved in public and political discussions, let’s be very careful about this! The leaders, even though they must be sensitive to demands of this nature in their role as collaborators, breathe deep before taking this step. A company and its brands cannot be a windsock like the ones in airports that only follow the direction of the wind.

In summary, politics and brands are quite the explosive mixture. I read, some time ago on Estadão the following: “The Ministério Público Federal formalized last Friday the archival of the inquiry against Volkswagen for supporting the German assembler that repressed during the military dictatorship in Brazil (1964-1985). “In exchange for the non-proposition of criminal actions,” the company must cover a fine of R$ 36,3 million to ex-workers that suffered during the dictatorship.

That is, beyond being explosive, the mixture can be expensive: cqd !


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