Corporations Taking Political Stands on Social Media: Risks, Benefits, and Potential for the Creation of Social Value
This chapter investigates the ways in which activists and corporations interact via social media, harnessing its power to take political stands and engage their stakeholders to create social change. The benefits and pitfalls involved with corporate political activism on social media and elsewhere are explained and examples given of successful political stands taken by companies such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nike, and SSGA. Cases of negative outcomes following a corporation taking a political stand are also explored through the example of Fox News and Amazon. The role of CEOs in crafting and managing corporate political stands is reviewed, as is the impact of CEOs’ personal political values on how corporations deal with the issue of social responsibility. Some practical steps corporations can take when crafting political responses and dealing with activists on social media are also provided.
KeywordsCorporate social responsibility CSR CEO activism Corporate political stands Social media activism Brand-focused activism Nike Colin Kaepernick Amazon State Street Global Advisors SSGA Dick’s Sporting Goods Fox News
- Alalwan, A. A., Rana, N. P., Dwivedi, Y. K., & Algharabat, R. (2017). Social media in marketing: A review and analysis of the existing literature. Telematics and Informatics, 34(7), 1177–1190.Google Scholar
- APCO Worldwide. (2018). Corporate advocacy, in five acts. Retrieved February 9, 2019, from http://apcoworldwide.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/Thought-Leadership/apcos-five-acts-of-corporate-advocacy.pdf.
- Dodd, M. D., & Supa, D. W. (2014). Conceptualizing and measuring “corporate social advocacy” communication: Examining the impact on corporate financial performance. Public Relations Journal, 8(3), 1–23.Google Scholar
- Dudharejia, M. (2018). 4 Branding lessons from Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Ad. Entrepreneur. Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/321130.
- Duggan, M., Smith, A. (2016). The political environment on social media. Pew Research Center. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from https://www.pewinternet.org/2016/10/25/the-political-environment-on-social-media/
- Gilkerson, N. (2017). Posting, sharing, and tweeting a brand’s politics: Social media and the recent evolution of online corporate activism. In K. S. Burns (Ed.), Social media: A reference handbook (pp. 149–154). Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO.Google Scholar
- Grover, P., Kar, A. K., Dwivedi, Y. K., & Janssen, M. (2018). Polarization and acculturation in US Election 2016 outcomes: Can twitter analytics predict changes in voting preferences. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2018/09/09.
- Heater, B. (2019). Amazon drops plans for New York HQ2. Tech Crunch. Retrieved February 15, 2019, from https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/14/amazon-drops-plans-for-new-york-hq2/.
- Hossain, M. A., Dwivedi, Y. K., Chan, C., Standing, C., & Olanrewaju, A. (2018). Sharing political content in online social media: A planned and unplanned behaviour approach. Information Systems Frontiers, 20(3), 485–501.Google Scholar
- Kapoor, K. K., Tamilmani, K., Rana, N., Patil, P. P., Dwivedi, Y. K., & Nerur, S. (2018). Advances in social media research: Past, present and future. Information Systems Frontiers, 20(3), 531–558.Google Scholar
- Kennedy, M. R. (2017). Shapeholders: Business success in the age of activism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- McGregor, J. (2018). Dick’s Sporting Goods took a stand on gun sales—And made a big statement. Washington Post. Retrieved April 4, 2019, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2018/03/06/dicks-sporting-goods-took-a-stand-on-gun-sales-and-made-a-big-statement/?utm_term=.4f346d15bbfd.
- Melendez, S. (2019). Here’s a list of gun control laws passed since the Parkland shooting. Fast Company. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://www.fastcompany.com/90306582/heres-a-list-of-gun-control-laws-passed-since-the-parkland-shooting.
- Pasarow, A. (2018). These companies have cut ties with the NRA. Refinery 29. Retrieved April 3, 2018, from https://www.refinery29.com/2018/02/192103/parkland-companies-reaction-changes?bucketed=true.
- Pew Research Centre, US Politics and Policy. (2017). Political polarization, 1994–2017. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from http://www.people-press.org/interactives/political-polarization-1994-2017/.
- Richards, K. (2017). Fearless girl stole the world’s heart, but what did it do for the client’s business? A deep dive into the iconic statue and the company it was created for. Adweek. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/fearless-girl-stole-the-worlds-heart-but-what-did-it-do-for-the-clients-business/.
- Rubin, B. F. (2019). Why Amazon’s dream of a New York City headquarters imploded. CNet. Retrieved February 15, 2019, from https://www.cnet.com/news/why-amazons-dream-of-a-big-apple-hq2-imploded/.
- Raphael, J., & Lam, C. (ed.) (2017). Becoming Brands: Celebrity, Activism and Politics. Toronto, Ontario: WaterHill Publishing.Google Scholar
- Spellings, S. (2018). This could be the next step for the new, socially conscious Nike. The Cut. Retrieved January 20, 2019, https://www.thecut.com/2018/09/nikes-colin-kaepernick-ad-raises-issues-of-workers-rights.html
- Tuttle, B. (2018). All the advertisers dropping Laura Ingraham after she mocked Parkland survivor David Hogg. Time. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from http://time.com/money/5222218/laura-ingraham-david-hogg-advertising-boycott/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=money.com&utm_campaign=ideal-media-internal-recirculation&utm_term=68786&utm_content=2212060.
- Wan, L., Poon, P. S., & Yu, C. (2016). Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility brands: The role of face concern. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 33(1), 52–60.Google Scholar
- Weber Shandwick and KRC Research. (2017). CEO activism in 2017: High noon in the C-suite. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from https://www.webershandwick.com/uploads/news/files/ceo-activism-in-2017-high-noon-in-the-c-suite.pdf.