Imagine your brand being co-opted by an odd mix of right-wing frat boys with funny haircuts, toothless old men with grey beards and beer guts, and sniveling shifty-eyed wanna-be soldiers. In other words, the Master Race, same as they ever were.
Yep, that’s what happened to Tiki over the weekend in Charlottesville. Here’s their response:
“TIKI Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and disappointed. We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.”
Now I imagine their lawyers made them write this. And to their credit, they at least said something firmer than the spineless racist-in-chief, Donald J. Trump.
But why not show some real backbone here? How about this:
“TIKI Brand condemns the racist white supremacy and white nationalist movements and all those who support them. Your beliefs, words, and actions are against all we value as a company. We do not want you to purchase our products. We do not want your business. We do not want your money. If you are a member of these groups, go elsewhere.
The TIKI Brand company has calculated that our profit from this disgusting display of hate was roughly $X. We are donating twice that amount to the ADL [or other worthy anti-hate group(s)].”
So a few spineless Nazi wanna-bes won’t buy your stuff. I guarantee they’d sell backyards full of stuff this weekend to real human beings.
What are you going to do when these punks start using your brand? Be ready now and be firm. Don’t be like IBM, Bayer, VW, or Krupp. Tell them to go away when they show up.
Takeaway: You can’t please everybody. But you can stand up for what’s correct. Stand up to hate and be unequivocal about it. And win.