Have you heard the brouhaha over Jim Henson Company “dumping” Chik-Fil-A and posting an official statement of the break-up on their Facebook page? In case you haven’t, I will give you the short version. Dan Cathy, the president of Chik-Fil-A, was interviewed and had this to say about gay marriage: We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
This interview resulted in the break-up between the two companies. I know you’re asking yourself what two large companies suffering a difference of opinions and an ugly social media battle over the issue of gay marriage has to do with you running your jewelry business. More than you might think.
Chik-Fil-A is now suffering some completely unnecessary backlash. Consumers vote with their cash and I’m guessing there will be lots of people saying “no cash for you!” Why unnecessary? Because if Mr Cathy had kept his mouth firmly closed, there would be no issue. He can even be against gay marriage and say something like “we believe God loves everyone no matter what.” The end. That would be smart business.
Nope. In fact, he pretty much slams divorced and remarried people in that same quote. I have no idea how many people in the United States are divorced and/or remarried…but I’m thinking that number is pretty high.
Jim Henson Company could face a similar backlash…meaning, those who oppose gay marriage will no longer buy whatever toy or movie or whatever they are peddling these days because they came out as supporters of gay marriage. Was the public statement necessary? No. However, it does seem in my internet wanderings that they have more applause than boos over their statement. But it could have easily gone the other way.
As a business trying to make a profit, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are not the appropriate venue to rant about your hot button views over religion, politics, race, etc because there will always be people who are potential customers who disagree with you and will vote with their cash and pass on their bad opinion of you, and therefore your business, onto others. That is not the kind of word of mouth you want.
Also, if I’m visiting a jewelry blog, I don’t want to read about how someone’s religion is the best, who they hate, their political views, their sex lives, or how brown haired blue eyed women are the smartest, funniest, prettiest, most fashionable people and should rule the planet (ok, being a brown haired blue eyed female, maybe I do
want to read that…). While people do want to get to know a bit about the genius person (you) who designs incredible jewelry, they don’t want to be assaulted with your opinions.
There may be appropriate times to discuss your views about this topic in a level-headed respectful and professional manner. For example, you sell Gay Pride jewelry. By all means, share away because it is appropriate to your business model and your customers are more than likely going to agree with whatever you have to say on the subject.
However, if you sell handmade rosaries and you support gay marriage or even birth control…you might want to keep your personal views just that…personal.
If you feel so strongly about something you don’t care what the backlash is, share. But remember to use professional respectful language. There is never a good reason to be hateful or hurtful even if those with an opposing viewpoint act that way.
Before you decide to share your views on a hot button topic, ask yourself why you need to share. If you think you will change someone’s views…well…that’s about as likely as a Mormon showing up on the doorstep of and converting a Southern Baptist to Mormonism. Not bloody likely. If you think what you have to say needs to be said, then say it.
Try to leave the brouhaha business to others.