Will taking a side and taking a stand benefit your business and brand or will it destroy you? Of course it depends on your client base.
Do you make artisanal kim chi-making kits on Etsy? You could pander to your base as a marketing decision. Then again, birds of a feather work together. Even if all your market research suggests that your core is well on the other side of your personal moral and ethical line, maybe there is more than enough sales revenue to be had in your own camp.
Unless you’re an Amazon, currently being castigated for not pulling its ads on alt-right firebrand Breitbart, your true clientele probably isn’t everybody, internationally. How many clients and customers do you really need to buy that Philip Johnson home and that Range Rover SVAutobiography DYNAMIC for your family to squirrel enough profit away to retire at 50?
You don’t need to become Mark Zuckerberg. You just need to find your true market — people who are authentically like you. Then reveal to them who you are, what you stand for, what you believe, and how that makes you — both you as an authentic, transparent, human person and you as a Delaware Corporation — not worth the risk of getting fired for not buying IBM, so to speak.
The smaller your brand and the more competitive your industry (no matter how experienced, elite, masterful, or brilliant you may be), the more rewarding it is to let your political, moral, spiritual, and moral freak flag fly. When principles are at stake, people will spend a little extra time to make a stand, to vote their conscience with dollars, to be able to work with someone with whom they may speak freely instead of keeping their true feelings about the world under the radar.
Like I always say, you are your work clients’ BFF. You are someone they get to socialize with during work hours, someone with whom they get to spend corporate money on for glamorous lunches and dinners of steak and drinks! Become that person. And, if you choose a client or customer pool who reflect your politics, priorities, principles, and morals, then you can sip that Pappy Van Winkle bourbon without fear of dropping your guard in a messy reveal.
Maybe you don’t know who you are anymore. Maybe you’ve become so good at being that corporate chameleon that you’re personally so “professional,” that you would never dare ever talk politics or religion in polite company. Well, business is not polite company — not anymore.
The more I reveal myself, the more polarizing I become. It’s true, however, that there are plenty of people who fall on the side of getting where I come from, and that’s enough. And those people feel closer to me. Sort of like a de facto “bHarmony,” where the more honest you are on your time-consuming 29 dimensional eHarmony compatibility test, the more likely you’ll find your perfect match.
Let’s be honest, anyone who does even a little bit of Open Source Intelligence (deep Googling you) will reveal who you are, or reveal that you’re an atonal ghost online, which also says a lot.
Now, it’s up to you. Are you going to loosen your belt and take a deep breath and loosen that tie or are you going to continue dressing for the job you want? Is that job still, in 2017, the actual job you want?
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