For a long time, companies tried to be apolitical, staying out of divisive issues.
That made sense because the concept of branding came to light during the mass-market era. To be successful, brands had to be “plain vanilla,” because they wanted as big a market as possible.
In the near future, a business that doesn’t take sides on a divisive issue will have a scant few customers.
“Are we at the dawn of an era [when] we’ll consume along political lines?” asks Fortune.
Yes, we are, and not just political lines, though that is where it has begun. In this “post-trust” era, consumers are holding brands accountable for their decisions and the appearance of “aiding the enemy.”
Recently, we saw this with the grassroots effort to demand that Shopify take down the Breitbart site it hosts. Though I am no fan of Breitbart, I appreciate that Shopify stood its ground on hosting an array of viewpoints.
At the same time, it’s not a big stretch to see Shopify officials deciding that either: