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There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos

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How many clients and customers do you really need to buy that Philip Johnson home and that Range Rover SVAutobiography DYNAMIC for your family to squirrel enough profit away to retire at 50?

Will taking a side and taking a stand benefit your business and brand or will it destroy you? Of course it depends on your client base.

Do you make artisanal kim chi-making kits on Etsy? You could pander to your base as a marketing decision. Then again, birds of a feather work together. Even if all your market research suggests that your core is well on the other side of your personal moral and ethical line, maybe there is more than enough sales revenue to be had in your own camp.

Unless you’re an Amazon, currently being castigated for not pulling its ads on alt-right firebrand Breitbart, your true clientele probably isn’t everybodyinternationally.  How many clients and customers do you really need to buy that Philip Johnson home and that Range Rover SVAutobiography DYNAMIC for your family to squirrel enough profit away to retire at 50?

You don’t need to become Mark Zuckerberg. You just need to find your true market — people who are authentically like you. Then reveal to them who you are, what you stand for, what you believe, and how that makes you — both you as an authentic, transparent, human person and you as a Delaware Corporation — not worth the risk of getting fired for not buying IBM, so to speak.

The smaller your brand and the more competitive your industry (no matter how experienced, elite, masterful, or brilliant you may be), the more rewarding it is to let your political, moral, spiritual, and moral freak flag fly. When principles are at stake, people will spend a little extra time to make a stand, to vote their conscience with dollars, to be able to work with someone with whom they may speak freely instead of keeping their true feelings about the world under the radar.

Like I always say, you are your work clients’ BFF. You are someone they get to socialize with during work hours, someone with whom they get to spend corporate money on for glamorous lunches and dinners of steak and drinks! Become that person. And, if you choose a client or customer pool who reflect your politics, priorities, principles, and morals, then you can sip that Pappy Van Winkle bourbon without fear of dropping your guard in a messy reveal.

Maybe you don’t know who you are anymore. Maybe you’ve become so good at being that corporate chameleon that you’re personally so “professional,” that you would never dare ever talk politics or religion in polite company. Well, business is not polite company — not anymore.

The more I reveal myself, the more polarizing I become. It’s true, however, that there are plenty of people who fall on the side of getting where I come from, and that’s enough.  And those people feel closer to me. Sort of like a de facto “bHarmony,” where the more honest you are on your time-consuming 29 dimensional eHarmony compatibility test, the more likely you’ll find your perfect match.

Let’s be honest, anyone who does even a little bit of Open Source Intelligence (deep Googling you) will reveal who you are, or reveal that you’re an atonal ghost online, which also says a lot.

Now, it’s up to you. Are you going to loosen your belt and take a deep breath and loosen that tie or are you going to continue dressing for the job you want? Is that job still, in 2017, the actual job you want?


1. What is the main argument of the blog post? The main argument is that businesses, especially smaller ones in competitive industries, can benefit from taking a stand on political, moral, spiritual, and ethical issues, as this can resonate with a customer base that shares similar values, potentially leading to more authentic and loyal relationships.

2. How can taking a stand affect a business? Taking a stand can either benefit or harm a business depending on its customer base. If a business's core values align with those of its customers, openly expressing these values can strengthen customer loyalty and attract a like-minded clientele. However, it could alienate potential customers with differing views.

3. What does the author suggest businesses should do regarding their stance? The author suggests that businesses should not shy away from expressing their political, moral, spiritual, and ethical positions. By doing so, they can connect more deeply with a customer base that reflects their own values, potentially making business interactions more personal and meaningful.

4. Why is it important for businesses to reveal their values and beliefs? Revealing values and beliefs helps a business attract customers and clients who share similar views, making for a more harmonious and authentic relationship. It's also presented as a way to differentiate oneself in a competitive market by appealing to principles rather than just products or services.

5. Can a business be successful without appealing to a broad audience? Yes, according to the post, a business does not need to appeal to everyone to be successful. Instead, finding a niche market of customers who share the business's values can be sufficient for achieving financial goals and fostering a loyal customer base.

6. What are the potential risks of a business taking a public political or ethical stance? Taking a public stance can alienate potential customers who hold opposing views, potentially leading to boycotts or negative publicity. The risk is particularly high if the stance is controversial or if the business operates in a highly polarized industry or community.

7. How does market research play into deciding whether to take a stand on issues? Market research can provide insights into the values, beliefs, and preferences of a business's target audience, enabling business owners to make informed decisions about which stances might resonate with or repel their core customers. Thorough research helps in aligning business values with customer expectations, thereby enhancing brand loyalty.

8. Can a business recover from negative backlash due to its public stance? Yes, businesses can recover from negative backlash through strategic communication, genuine apologies if the stance was harmful, and by taking concrete actions to address the concerns raised by the backlash. Recovery often depends on the business's willingness to engage with its critics and to make meaningful changes if necessary.

9. What role does authenticity play in a business's public stance on issues? Authenticity is crucial; customers are increasingly savvy about when a business's stance is genuine versus when it's a marketing ploy. Authentic stances based on deeply held values are more likely to foster strong customer loyalty, whereas inauthentic stances can lead to skepticism and distrust.

10. How does the concept of a niche market relate to taking a stand? A niche market comprises consumers with specific interests, preferences, and values. Businesses that take a stand on issues important to their niche market can strengthen their position within that niche, attracting customers who value businesses that not only provide a product or service but also represent their beliefs and values.

11. What is the impact of social media on businesses taking a stand? Social media amplifies the reach and impact of a business's stance, for better or worse. Positive reactions can enhance a brand's reputation and broaden its customer base, while negative reactions can spread quickly, potentially causing significant harm. Social media also offers businesses a platform to engage directly with their audience about their values and stances.

12. How can businesses ensure their stance aligns with their brand identity? Businesses should conduct an internal audit of their values, mission, and brand identity, ensuring that any public stance is a natural extension of their existing brand narrative. This alignment helps in maintaining consistency, which is key to building trust and loyalty among customers.


  • Artisanal: Referring to products made in a traditional or non-mechanized way, often handcrafted and produced in small quantities.
  • Pander: To gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire, need, or habit) with regard to what someone wants to hear or see in marketing.
  • Alt-Right: A right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and the use of online media to disseminate controversial content.
  • Philip Johnson Home: Reference to homes designed by Philip Johnson, an influential American architect known for his modernist and postmodernist structures.
  • Range Rover SVAutobiography DYNAMIC: A high-end luxury SUV model from the British automobile manufacturer Land Rover, indicating a symbol of financial success.
  • Mark Zuckerberg: Co-founder and CEO of Facebook, mentioned here as an example of extreme success that the reader does not necessarily need to emulate to achieve financial comfort.
  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT): The collection and analysis of information that is gathered from public, or open, sources.
  • Corporate Chameleon: A metaphor describing someone who can adapt to corporate surroundings by changing behaviors, opinions, or appearances to fit in.
  • Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon: A highly sought-after brand of bourbon whiskey, used here to symbolize the finer things in life that one might enjoy without fear if they align their business with their personal values.
  • eHarmony Compatibility Test: Refers to the detailed questionnaire used by the online dating site eHarmony to match individuals based on compatibility, used metaphorically to suggest businesses should be as open and honest to attract compatible clients.
  • Brand Loyalty: The tendency of consumers to continuously purchase one brand's products over another's. Brand loyalty is built through positive brand experiences and perceived value of a brand.
  • Boycott: A voluntary abstention from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for social or political reasons.
  • Strategic Communication: The practice of deliberate messaging and public relations tactics to inform, persuade, or achieve other objectives, especially in the context of managing backlash or promoting a stance.
  • Niche Marketing: Targeting a specific segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service. Niche marketing involves tailoring marketing efforts to fit the specific needs and preferences of that segment.
  • Social Media Amplification: The process by which content gains more visibility and reach through sharing, liking, and engagement on social media platforms.
  • Internal Audit: A self-examination of an organization's operations and business practices, aimed at identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, including alignment with ethical stances.
  • Market Polarization: The process by which a market becomes divided into opposing groups, often as a result of differing social, political, or ethical views. This division can affect consumer behavior and brand loyalty.
  • Consumer Skepticism: The tendency of consumers to doubt the truthfulness or authenticity of marketing messages and brand communications, often arising from perceived inauthentic or manipulative tactics.
  • Public Relations Tactics: Strategies employed by businesses to manage their public image and handle communications with stakeholders, including the media, customers, and the general public, especially when navigating controversial stances.
Feb 07, 2017 12:00 AM