More than just products and services, today’s consumers are drawn to values.
President Trump’s executive orders have managed to stir up quite a bit of controversy — perhaps none more so than his recent immigration ban. While activists swarm the streets in protest, several major brands have made political statements of their own:
While the ride-hailing service’s rival, Uber, was condemned for continuing to operate during a strike at New York’s JFK airport in the aftermath of the ban, Lyft made sure its stance on the issue was known.
“We stand with you, and are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution,” said co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green. The pair later published a blog post stressing the importance of diversity and inclusion.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 29, 2017
In direct response to the immigration ban, Starbucks announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees in its stores worldwide. Although the brand’s stance was met with condemnation from Trump supporters, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz stands by his decision.
Food delivery service Postmates was founded by a diverse group of US citizens and immigrants, who are determined to defend their values in light of the executive order. The company’s founder and CEO, Bastian Lehmann, pledged to match employee donations to the ACLU and the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Airbnb, a brand founded upon community values, offered housing for travelers not allowed into the United States due to President Trump’s immigration ban.
Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 29, 2017
The brand’s CEO Brian Chesky explains, “Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected.”
Google is another massive brand that jumped on the activism bandwagon following the immigration ban.
The internet search giant created a $2 million crisis fund, further promising to match up to $2 million in donations from employees for the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee, and UN Refugee Agency.
Google cofounder Sergey Brin at SFO protest: “I’m here because I’m a refugee.” (Photo from Matt Kang/Forbes) pic.twitter.com/GwhsSwDPLT
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) January 29, 2017
Twitter was quick to join in, donating to the ACLU to help provide legal support for those detained at airports around the country. Employees raised approximately $530,000, which the brand matched for a total of $1.59 million.
Finally, what bigger and more impactful way to make a statement than with a Super Bowl halftime commercial? Budweiser took advantage of its time in the spotlight by creating a controversial ad depicting the immigration story of its founder.
The bottom line: in the midst of our country’s chaotic political climate, brands must be prepared to fight for what they believe in to maintain a place in consumers’ hearts.
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