Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Townhall.com on June 7, 2023.
Corporations are attacking American values and, in doing so, are hurting their bottom lines. Can corporate leaders be this clueless or does the agenda trump their duties to shareholders and customers?
A few days ago, Target lost $9 billion in market value after making the mistake of offering products that celebrate the practice of adults chemically and physically maiming impressionable minor children.
Now, why would Target do such a thing?
Did they not internalize the error committed by Bud light when they made the ill-fated mistake – a few weeks ago – to insult its core customer base by partnering with Dylan Mulvaney? Mulvaney is a man who maintains he is a woman, all while offering almost a comic parody of what real women are like. It has been more than 6 weeks and Bud Light still cannot stop the bleeding of losing over $110 million in sales volume year-to-date.
Surprisingly enough, after the marketing fiasco, it took Bud Light over 2 weeks to respond and take any form of action. That was more than ample time for its competitors to watch, learn and avoid the same pit falls. In fact, thanks to the ill-conceived marketing concept by Bud Light, other brands such as Coors Light and Modelo are especially making the most of the gift they have received. Perhaps their marketing department should call Bud Light and thank them for their respective 23.2% and 22.2% growth of the market share.
Now, ask yourself, why would any corporation decide to insult its customer base and expect that base not to change its purchasing habits? After all, isn’t that one of the first lessons one learns about running a business?
Either leadership at some of these corporations has forgotten the simple basics of running a good business or are intentionally making ill-fated decisions based on ideology instead of fiduciary duty. Are they simply genuflecting at political correctness, which seems to be permeating board rooms all over the country?
Do they even teach fiduciary duty in business schools these days? Once held as a marker for everyone in the business world to emulate, fiduciaries took their roles very seriously and with a high standard of care, loyalty, and honesty in providing services to their clients and stakeholders. It was once understood that anyone in a fiduciary role was required to prioritize the interests of the beneficiaries over their own.
Many of these corporations take their dominance of their respective market for granted. It only takes a quick study of history to know many corporations that once were at the apogee of the market are either irrelevant or non-existent. All simply because they failed to adjust to the needs of the market and consumers. It appears some of these corporations are either ignorant of this fact or too willing to pay whatever price it may cost them all in the name of bowing down to political correctness.
A number of other corporations have stepped into the proverbial quicksand. In 2021, Major League Baseball (MLB) took a misguided stand against Georgia election integrity legislation that mandated voter identification. Voter ID is one of the most popular forms of voter protection in the U.S. MLB’s protest against the bill included the decision to move the MLB All-Star game out of Atlanta. The Job Creators Network sued Major League Baseball and they were joined by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III and the American Constitutional Rights Union, of which he is a member of the Board, with a hard-hitting amicus brief supporting Job Creators Network in their lawsuit. I also sit as a member of the policy board of ACRU.
The move caused major economic consequences to the greater Atlanta community. This led to complaints that Major League Baseball was not representing the interests of its owners as it participated in political cancel culture and appeared to do the bidding of leftist activists, such as Stacey Abrams, who maintained that measures such as voter identification are racist. The backlash against MLB was swift, severe, and long lasting.
Disney also paid a price in 2022 for taking a stance against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act? Perhaps this could explain their recent woes across various segments of the market. It certainly led to Disney losing some perks in Florida laws that had benefited the company for decades.
These corporations and others would be wise to pay heed to the warning signs lest they fall into the same trap that has ensnared others before them.
Millions of Americans are watching you. “Go woke. Go Broke.”