Tag Archive | "press"

Where Does Your Brand Stand on Gay Marriage and Does it Matter?

It’s often risky to politicize your brand, and publicly take a stand on a hot-button issue like gay marriage. With two major Supreme Court decisions about the issue and hundreds of gay pride parades going on right now, it’s gotten a lot easier for some brands to make a stand in support of gay marriage. So, is it wise for college-centric brands to align themselves with this cause?

Photo by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr.com

Photo by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr.com

Here’s What the Students Think of Gay Marriage

In 2009, 65% of college students supported same-sex marriage. Over the next two years, that number increased to 71%, and in 2013 the Washington Post found that 81% of young adults believed that legalizing gay marriage was the right thing to do.

In short, college students and young people overwhelmingly support it.

Because the issue is seen by many young people as a civil rights issue, and not necessarily a political one, support crosses gender and party lines among young consumers, but it does hold especially strong weight among females and liberals. Experts believe this issue could be one of the strongest reasons that young people get politically active, so while there are some students who may be put off by the issue, a lot of big brands have no problem taking a side.

Who’s Already Doing it?

Some of the world’s biggest and most recognizable companies have publicly voiced their support of gay marriage including:

  • Apple
  • Starbucks
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Nike
  • Microsoft
  • AT&T
  • Oreos
  • Citi

So if you think that it will help your customers and college students get behind your brand, the pathway has already been cleared. You won’t be the first, but you probably won’t be the last either.

Where the Opposite Could Land You

There are a few companies who have moved in the opposite direction of supporting gay marriage – most notably Chick-fil-A. After it was discovered that the family-owned company donated money to organizations opposed to same-sex marriage, Chick-fil-A’s owner, Dan Cathy, angered a lot of people with his remarks:

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

As the controversy ballooned, students at over 50 colleges across the country boycotted or petitioned the removal of Chick-fil-A from their schools. While the restaurant has changed its policy of donating to organizations that fight gay marriage rights, the situation has left many of their former customers with a bad taste in their mouths.

Regardless of your personal feelings about same-sex marriage, it has become an increasingly difficult issue to stand up against. While I don’t think it’s 100% necessary for every company out there to come out in support of gay marriage, it’s clearly not wise to show yourself as a staunch opponent.

What do you think? Should brands support divisive political issues or just keep quiet? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Reddit Beginning to Define What’s Press-Worthy


Photo by Eva Blue on Flickr

Unlike most social networks, Reddit isn’t simply a distribution platform for journalists and bloggers. It has the amazing ability to actually “create” news, and that makes it well-worth your time as a PR professional.

How Blogs are Using Reddit

Since I started “redditing” a couple years ago, I’ve seen an increasing number of blogs and mainstream news sources pick up stories from the social network. For example, this post on Reddit of Kevin Spacey photobombing a young woman made it to the front page on April 30th. The very same day, someone from BuzzFeed posted the photo with the headline, “Kevin Spacey’s Awesome Photobomb.” Not exactly hard-hitting reporting, but it is BuzzFeed after all.

The Good

The strange thing about this social-first approach is that most social networks seem to be built for sharing content after it has been created. Twitter might be an exception, but with only 140 characters, you really have to post links to get any substantive stories out there. I for one think that news being created, discussed, and shared on social networks before it hits mainstream media isn’t a bad thing. It’s more democratic, and while it might not work for every kind of news story, it gets the community involved in shaping stories, and takes more of the power away from a seemingly-elite group of newsroom journalists at the top.

The Bad

Of course, there are issues with taking a job previously done by a trained reporter and putting it in the hands of the crowd. One example of this system failing occurred during the Boston Bombings. Redditors created and spread a lot of false rumors that took off without much real evidence. There have also been complaints of sexism, discrimination, and a generally chauvinist attitude, so if you do keep up with the trends on Reddit, you have to keep in mind that not everything you read is true and the viewpoints you’re getting are likely skewed.

The Takeaway

Despite it’s shortcomings, Reddit can be a great place for getting stories or press releases out there in an unconventional way. Use the proper subreddits, answer questions from the crowd, or just start listening and commenting. You’ll pretty quickly see how powerful the network can be. For more tips on using Reddit as a PR tool, check out this post on PRDaily.com.

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