Did you see David Barrett, the CEO of Expensify, who got into a whole lot of hot water this week?
He decided to send an email to about 10 million people telling them to vote for Joe Biden. The question is, why would he do that?
Well, in some cases, that’s actually the right thing to do.
Take Patagonia, for instance. This is a very activist driven company, particularly on climate change. On their homepage, Patagonia tells consumers and visitors to look at electing officials who will enact climate change legislation.
But Expensify and David Barrett aren’t known for taking political stances, and it confused the audience. This isn’t something they’re used to seeing from the. And this whole event goes back to points that I made several months beforehand related to Black Lives Matter and other political hotbeds issues.
Companies should feel very free to say what they want and endorse who they want. Businesses are beholden only to their stakeholders as to what they should and should not say. It’s a free country, and organizations certainly have every right to do. That gets companies in trouble is when they do something one-off or in reaction to an event without forethought. That gets you down a big slippery slope.
If you don’t understand how you’re going to endorse a certain issue or candidate and at times NOT do so, that will just draw a big question mark to consumers who will be confused as to what you stand for and how their values align with yours.
So, I tell this to David Barrett, Expensify, and any business of any size. You want to say something, fine. Have a strategy and a purpose in your positions, and be consistent in how you communicate those. Because if you don’t, well, you’ll be calling somebody like me