Wednesday marked a dark moment in U.S. history. The iconic essence of our democracy, the United States Capitol Building, was attacked and defiled. The events of this week also shined a brighter spotlight on the deep wound racism and systemic oppressive injustice leaves on our nation, and still persists today. With no shortage of historic moments in the past year, companies have been called upon again and again to lean-in on issues and participate in important, while often uncomfortable, conversations. This week, brands found themselves in a position to protect and defend the nation’s bedrock of democracy. Here are a few ways we saw corporate America respond to the insurrection:
- Pulling Advertisements: One of the first actions brands took was to pull and halt advertisements on news channels covering the violence erupting at the Capitol. This immediately signaled these companies would not seek to profit off the audience viewing this tragedy or be viewed as supporting the actions that were taking place. Some advertisers took this further to by pulling ads from social media.
- Issuing Association Statements: A number of business associations have come together to issues statements condoning the actions that took place on the Capitol steps. The National Association of Manufacturers was one of the first to release a pointed statement on Wednesday’s “disgusting episode” and condemned the President, Vice President and “anyone indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars.” Other organizations such as the National Restaurant Association and the Aluminum Association chimed in on Twitter.
- Speaking Out at Executive Level: Our research has shown that 72 percent of executives feel more empowered than ever to use their role to address pressing issues in the world and this week certainly proved this. Early in the week, the Business Roundtable, a body made up of over 200 CEOs from the nation’s largest companies, used its voice to implore Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. In light of Wednesday’s events, a number of prominent CEOs, from Salesforce’s Marc Benioff to Accenture’s Julie Sweet, issued statements via their personal social channels.
The events of the past year have only more clearly demonstrated the mandate for the private sector to show up, speak up and take action. This week proved to be yet another moment in time that required companies to use their voice to reinforce their values and provide some stability for employees, consumers and America as a whole. When the heart of democracy is threatened, it is essential for all leaders to bolster American democratic ideals and values.