When Obama was elected in November 2008, GE CEO Jeff Imment told his troops: “We’re all Democrats now”.
It wasn’t a political statement as much as a practical business reality.
Now, Forbes is asking “Are Apple, Whole Foods and Google Democrats or Republicans?”
Forbes’ central thesis:
Welcome, in short, to a new, neutral … U.S. corporate environment — thanks in no small part to the increasingly polarized politics of this country.
“Companies know if they align too much with one party or political view they will alienate one half of the buying public.”
Companies might lean Red or Blue in politics but in the end the only color that really counts is green.
Here are Forbes’ poster children of the new neutral …
Once a company positions itself on a certain point of the political spectrum, it’s fair to take a deeper look at whether its actions match its public persona.
That’s where they get sometimes get into trouble
Whole Foods sells organic, locally-sourced, sustainable products.
If one were to assign a philosophy or political orientation to the grocery store chain it would probably be Liberal Democrat … concerned about global warning. Well you’d be wrong.
But, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, has astounded his customers with statements to the contrary.
Four years ago he royally infuriated many of the store’s shoppers with his editorial on Obamacare in the Wall Street Journal, which he began with a red-meat quote on socialism.
Apple impressed buyers in earlier years by portraying itself as a progressive company.
Its ads have included images of Gandhi and John Lennon. Later ads—the Mac vs. PC series—featured a laid-back hipster and conservative-looking schmo.
But, the worm turned when worker abuses were uncovered in its contract factories overseas.
Apple is now associated with sweatshop labor
Google launched with the motto “Don’t Be Evil”.
But, the company has been roundly condemned by privacy advocates for multiple sins.
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Lately, though, Apple hasn’t been emphasizing its social justice creds so much in its ads.
Google doesn’t really flog about its “Don’t be evil’ mantra that much anymore.
And the once outrageously outspoken Whole Foods’ CEO has backed away from some of his recent comments while promoting his new book.
Welcome to the new neutral.
Thanks to SMH for feeding the lead.