Social media, blogs and a growing number of other digital forums make it easier than ever for individuals and groups to be heard. Businesses must now decide whether and how to engage. It can be hard to know when an issue is worth risking a company’s reputation and bottom line or if it is simply the cause célèbre. This month, we examine how a handful of entities have embraced or responded to cries for change.
BE LOCAL, INFLUENCE GLOBALLY:
Using the public stage offered by a fourth World Cup victory, the members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team are determined to change the way businesses view pay equity. Their refusal to let this topic fade from public discourse has the potential to change policy on a global scale.
CHANGE THE NARRATIVE:
We’re all familiar with unflattering descriptions associated with our region. Examples include the “Aroma of Tacoma” and the “Cascade Curtain.” How can communities alter longstanding perception? One solution is to rebrand. Snohomish County saw an opportunity to capitalize on Seattle’s renown while carving out a differentiated identity for itself. The Snohomish County Tourism Bureau has launched an official brand aimed at attracting tourists to the area. The new Seattle NorthCountry identity can change the way people think and talk about Snohomish County.
STAND UP (OR KNEEL) FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE:
Urged by brand ambassadors, customers and employees, Portland-based Nike has spotlighted important social issues by featuring Colin Kaepernick in its campaign commemorating the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It.” Although the company has faced backlash, they’ve stuck to their beliefs. It’s even paid off in the form of an Emmy nomination.
LEARN MORE FROM THE PAST:
Tech giants like Apple and Google face intensifying antitrust scrutiny. Recognizably absent from the current conversation is the tech company that transformed office work nearly three decades ago. Microsoft remains relatively absent from trustbusters’ arguments, in large part due to its commitment to making changes after a similar battle with regulators 20 years ago. The changes Microsoft had to implement in the 2000s inform how companies develop and enact policies today. What other lessons from the past can improve how we function today?
COLLABORATE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
All seven Seattle City Council district seats are up for grabs this fall, and four of those seats have no incumbent in the race. Ready or not, change is coming. Fifty-five candidates have entered the race across the seven seats, and the primary ballot will feature more than 14 candidates in some districts. In the midst of a potentially dramatic shift in the makeup of the Council, groups like the Downtown Seattle Association and the Seattle Metro Chamber are making their endorsements known. A desire for change has driven growing civic engagement, and collective voices demand attention.