• Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

Should a personal brand express political opinions?

The topic of personal branding is on the rise and with it the debate surrounding digital posting rules - when to stay silent and when to get involved. 

The recent death of George Floyd has rocked the entire world to its core. Personally, I am deeply disturbed and heartbroken by what happened in the US. 

The murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, has inflamed a historic problem and brought it to the forefront of hearts and minds, not just in America but all over the world. The problem isn’t the colour of someone’s skin. The problem is sight, the lens we use to look at the world, and it has to change today. 

With important movements such as #BlackLivesMatter in the spotlight, there is also the debate about how much individuals and brands should get involved.

As a marketer, I was always taught to walk the line and stay away from topics that could be considered controversial, or that could cause conflict with a brand’s audience. However, as a personal brand and owner of a boutique purpose-driven marketing agency, I have never felt a greater sense of responsibility to stand behind my personal brand values. 

Controversially, I believe it’s time for personal brands to take ownership of personal opinions. 

Some agencies and marketers may argue this view and suggest it’s best not to upset the apple cart when it comes to personal opinions. And, of course, there are certain subjects that could alienate some audiences, but if standing up for what matters and what you believe in is right, then isn’t it worth using your brand voice for good?

The senseless death of George Floyd is just one example of a case when brands shouldn’t feel compelled to be silent. Individuals, businesses and brands should know that is the time to show empathy, compassion and support for humankind.

This is not the time for silence. It’s a time for unity.

Greta Thunberg and Jane Fonda are not afraid to speak up against climate change. Blake Mycoskie is tackling America’s gun laws. Oprah uses her platform to raise awareness of countless social and political campaigns including #MeToo. Lady Gaga proudly supports the LGBT community. Jamie Fox, Ellen DeGeneres, Chrissy Teigen and Chris Hemsworth are just a snippet of celebrities who’re using their brand power to support Justice For George Floyd and the right for equality. 

Because equality does not mean only some of us. Equality means all of us. Together. 

So if you are sitting on the fence wondering whether or not it’s appropriate to use your voice for love. We say, Just Do It. Make your brand voice count and do it with kindness and humility.

Nike isn’t ashamed to bring light to a very real problem that we face as a global community. Their campaign #UntilWeAllWin urges Nike's audience to be part of the change. And yes, there will always be those who will try to discredit a good opinion. But in truth, there is an even greater number of loyal supporters standing proudly behind Nike and their most recent message that shines the disturbing truth on racism.

If you are frightened of what other people may think or worry about alienating customers, then you have to ask, are they the right customers for your brand? 

Today is the day to make your personal brand voice a voice for good!

Stand up, stand proud, and most importantly, stand together. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

Article by Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

Founder & CMO at Outsourced imagination

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