Lessons for Businesses on the Confederate Flag
Amongst the growing debates over the removal of the Confederate flag it seems the real watershed moments happened with a Tweet from Mitt Romney.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 20, 2015
He trended for hours with the support of the Twitter-Verse after his tweet stating why the flag should be removed. Social media is once again being used as a tool to denounce a brand. In this case a flag from the past.
Following South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley, decision to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol, many big businesses decided to pull Confederate items from their shelves. Within one day Sears, Walmart, Ebay, Etsy, and Google made this defining change. Following, sales increased 5,000 percent on items with the Confederate flag on Amazon, but not long after they to removed these items as well.
In an interview with CNN Virginia governor, Ralph Northam, stated “The business community — they have a lot of say and power all over the country, whether it’s on religion or ethnicity or LGBT issues… When you’re running a business, you must have the doors open and welcome diversity.” The business community has spoken, despite the possible gain; they don’t want to be associated by something like the Confederate flag.
While discussing the Confederate Flag in 1863 at the Rebel congress in Richmond William Tappan Thompson, a newspaper editor who has often been quoted for the flag’s purpose, stated:
As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism. Another merit in the new flag is that it bears no resemblance to the now infamous banner of the Yankee vandals.
Even if many see this flag as a part of history it is clear that to others it’s more than history, and many are coming around to see what is so offensive. Some are calling upon the flag as representing treason, while others are standing firm it is a matter of preserving the past.
Whether you own a business/brand big or small attention to the overall conversation must be made. This flag has been a reminder to many:
- Core values of a brand are always under question;
- Social media is an immediate sounding board to public opinion whether you like what is said or not;
- Celebrating a past must be handled with care. People are looking ahead and many would prefer to deny any large issues exist today which are from the past.
What do you think about the recent conversation about the confederate flag and businesses? As a business owner would you consider displaying historical items which are offensive to many?
Above Promotions is a digital marketing and public relations agency with B2C clients that promote brands in the food, fashion and family entertainment industries. We build and protect brands by creating and executing digital resources to sell products or build positive public sentiment. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.
Althea Tyrell is a communications assistant with Above Promotions Company. She is a student with the University of South Florida.