Should businesses align with politics?

Current times are great from the perspective of peeking into this issue of whether businesses should take sides, and align themselves with the political parties that are in power? We have had many situations recently, where big businesses have been questioned about their proximity towards certain political parties. It has happened in some cases openly, while in other cases discreetly where businesses have been found to take some political stance.

In some cases, top political leaders have openly put under fire many global corporates for their acts and initiatives, in India. And in some cases, even Indian corporates have come under fire for their association, linkage with a political party, and sometimes even for no valid reason.

While Governments form policies and lawmakers do their bit towards nation-building, one can often see substantial gaps in how they go about creating, developing and implementing these policies. There are often beliefs that many corporate lobbies and special interests support the political process of a country. And when the governments come into power such corporate groups are considered to be their favorites, where policies are tweaked to deliver some advantage to them.

While political parties, especially the opposition ones keep asking questions to the Governments’ initiatives, businesses are often seen to align with the rulers. A common observation has been that most businesses appreciate, highlight, praise, and often amplify the good work being done by their governments. On one hand this helps keep them in good books of the ruling parties, and on another hand allows them to build a good among their customers.

Today, most consumers are well-read, well-exposed, and are well-aware about the social and political environment, that they are a part of. They expect the brands to make more and more meaningful contribution into the social issues, including nation-building. If the businesses are aligned with righteous causes led by governments, if they are supportive to constructive initiatives, if they contribute to the nation-building activities, and if they take interest in doing what is good for the society, then they end up creating a strong goodwill among their customer base.

Sometimes, governments’ actions may not be in the interests of people at large, some policies and their benefits might be skewed towards specific sections in the society while depriving many others, sometimes governments might lack a vision in implementing some programmes, and sometime they might be just failing in the delivery of their electoral promises for that matter. Should the businesses take stances in such cases, remains a million-dollar question?

While taking a pro-government stance always may not give large benefits to the businesses, any stance that is against the government might result into some damage, even if it is for a short-term. Businesses remaining happy and focused on their activity and not taking a stance or taking a negative stance on political issues can also have its repercussions. While businesses can choose to remain in good books of certain political ideologies, what is most crucial for them to survive and thrive in the long-term is their ability to remain in consumers’ minds.

Of course, brands need to plan, evaluate, anticipate and expect the outcomes of any political stance much in advance. However, while taking such a stance, corporates should take such decisions keeping in mind a larger view of existing environment of the contemporary society and nation. While businesses may get impacted by the government policies, their political stance towards any issues should be in line with a larger social good.

Political parties often come and go in power, but the brands remain in the minds of consumers. Corporates, when aligned with the social good have a greater mindshare among their consumers, enjoy better goodwill and stand a chance to grow faster, irrespective of the political processes of any country.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

1 Comment on "Should businesses align with politics?"

  1. Interesting take Praveen!

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