In the cultural landscape of 2020, attempting to remain apolitical this election cycle is no longer a surefire way to protect your brand from being subjected to scrutiny. We hosted the Real Talk Webinar: Preparing Your Brand for an Uncertain Election Season to help organizations create a proactive game plan for how to address inquiries – both internally and externally – related to political affiliations and points of view.
Partnering with government relations experts from Impact Public Affairs, the session provided a well-rounded discussion about what to expect as we approach Election Day and beyond.
The discussion was moderated by Jackson Spalding’s Dallas-based Business Development and Marketing Lead Heather VacLav Hooper and featured insights from:
- Brad Alexander, Partner, Impact Public Affairs
- Nick Juliano, Partner, Impact Public Affairs
- Charles Edwards, Coaching Practice Lead, Jackson Spalding
- Anne Lerner, City Council Member & Crisis Management Expert, Jackson Spalding
Missed the live webinar? Catch up on the key takeaways or watch the recording below:
How to Get Your Brand Ready for Election Day and Beyond:
- Prepare for a variety of scenarios and outcomes. While much of what will happen on Election Day and after remains uncertain, brands can and should anticipate the possibility of being involved in a situation that’s ripe for controversy. A proactive process that addresses specific scenarios that could negatively affect your brand and outlines responses for your team will allow your organization to react in a timely and thoughtful manner. This approach applies to establishing internal policies, guiding customer interactions and communicating via your brand’s social media channels.
- Focus on participation over politics. Regardless of industry or business size, brands can prioritize the act of voting rather than who to vote for when communicating with employees or external stakeholders. Consider leveraging existing resources or assets to drive home the message. For example, event venues are offering their spaces to serve as polling locations and food service brands are offering free meals to voters and poll workers.
- Assemble a cross-functional team for maximum effectiveness. Election-related communications and policies are multi-dimensional. A holistic approach that involves, at a minimum, members of your legal, HR and communications teams will equip your brand with necessary feedback and perspectives to inform your strategies.
- Stay laser-focused on your brand’s core values. Ensure your actions and messages are tightly aligned with the values your brand represents. Right now, everything is political. If your organization decides to speak out – or not speak out – about an issue, ensure that you have an explanation that is true to your brand. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of what your audience expects from you and to deliver on those expectations.
- Solicit feedback from key stakeholders to mitigate backlash. In this intensely personal election cycle, the odds of alienating a portion of employees, donors or customers are heightened. Asking your key stakeholders for input on big decisions, especially those that represent a shift for your organization’s policy or stance, will allow you to keep a pulse on their needs and make an informed choice, even if it doesn’t make everyone happy.