Social Issues in the Business World

Protestors are protesting on social issues

Global expansion can be an exciting venture but to ensure a company’s success, it always pays to bear the norms of the target location in mind.

As a business’s reach exceeds that of their own home country, they need to be increasingly aware of the social climate and the attitudes of the countries they are active in. Many businesses are now taking definitive stances on issues regarding a multitude of topics, whether it be about the environment, racial issues, or even political matters. Companies need to understand that their point of view won’t always be accepted in every country they do business in. Social issues are controversial topics so whatever stance the business takes, they must always be prepared for criticism from the opposite side.

Voicing their opinion could be beneficial to the company as it could be used to build brand awareness – however, it should be noted that this is a major criticism of businesses that take sides, as some people doubt the sincerity of such actions. For instance, Nike recently released an advert illustrating how minorities have to struggle for their place in Japan. This has caused backlash from some Japanese people as they oppose foreign entities pressuring them to change their ways. Some also claim such allegations to be untrue. Will this backlash affect Nike’s profits in Japan? Probably not, as Nike has done similar adverts like this in the US and, like in Japan, backlash ensued. However, Nike did not lose their profits; instead, they made new customers who identify with those stances and now have brand loyalty towards Nike.

It is important to note that Nike is already an established and well-known brand, and even then they may not always be so lucky. The risk is even greater for newer businesses. When does a business stop being a business and become more of an activist organization? With the rise of social media making it easier than ever for companies to take stances, this is a question many businesses will need to consider. At the same time, companies must act with integrity and do what they feel is right. Such questions can be difficult to navigate in the organisation’s home country but a new location makes it even harder. Bubu & Friends can help with this – simply contact us here for localised advice.