Avoid politics for best business results

 

 

 

I grew up in a home that was pretty conservative and my parents voted that way but never talked about it to anybody.  We operated a funeral home and we were open to helping people and doing business with people whether they had our viewpoints or not.

 

I also grew up in a home that practiced our religion via the Lutheran faith.  That never stopped us from either advertising to the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of Latter Day Saints, or any other church in our community.  We were happy to help them and do business with them even though we did not share the same faith.  As a matter of fact, I can remember some of our newspaper advertising back when I was growing up. . . .”Serving all Faiths” it said.

 

My dad taught me valuable lessons about keeping politics and religion out of our business choices. . . “Business and politics just don’t mix” he would say.  And, I remember during the political season there were no candidate signs on our yard like at some of my friends’ houses.

 

Yet, we live in a world today where some businesses seemingly want to promote one political party over another.  It’s just difficult for me to understand why a business, whose object is to make profits, would want to alienate a portion of prospective customers.  I guess there is the argument that by promoting one set of politics you can become more entrenched with that buying group and that may be mathematically better than being “middle of the road” with all people.  Maybe that’s it. . . but, in my opinion, that calculation seems pretty weak.

 

I think our business world would be better off today if the leaders would have continued to have my Dad’s stance on this issue.  I thought of this today when I noticed this article from Reuters entitled “Bud Light loses top U.S. beer spot after Mulvaney ad boycott.”

 

If you haven’t been up on this news, America’s top-purchased beer, every month since 2001, was Bud Light.  Then in April and May of this year they had a politically controversial spokesperson represent their beer brand. . . . the results have been disasterous — sales of Bud Light dropped 24.6% and sales of sister brand Budweiser dropped 9.2% for the four weeks ended June 3.

 

Those drops in sales caused the Bud Light brand to drop out of the top spot and be replaced by Modelo Especial who benefitted from the controversy and had their sales increase by 10.2% giving them America’s top market share of 8.4% and dropping Bud Light to second with a share of 7.3%.

 

Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

Funeral Director Daily take:  From my point of view when you open a business you want to serve as many customers as possible.  Yes, there may be a niche you are going for and want to attract, but attracting over and outside that niche will bring more profits.

 

I think that over the years funeral homes have been more aware of this issue than many other businesses. . . and we seem to work to avoid favoritism of one group over another.  I also think that philosophy comes from the longevity of many funeral homes in this nation because at one time funeral home choice could be easily tied to religious preferences or language of the funeral home owners.

 

While it was nice, 50 to 100 years ago, to get clientele from your own church organization and your own language group, I think funeral home owners also found out that exceptional service could pull those from other groups to their side and they worked hard not to alienate them from being potential clientele.

 

In my Dad’s world, everybody was a potential client at some point in time.  Why not be friendly and courteous with them and stay away from announcing to them that you had a different political bent. . . . it just didn’t make sense then. . . and it still doesn’t to me today.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Bill Bickmeier on June 22, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Did you know that Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, has a portfolio of 15 beer brands? The beer market has changed over the last 15 years as consumers have chosen more niche beers. We might see Anheuser-Busch trying to transition to beers with higher sales margins. Cheap beer / dirty thirties may not be their desired market any more.

    In my personal endeavours, I aim to promote peace in my community. However, it is worth noting that many businesses have found success by targeting specific niche markets.

    You as a business have to choose what is most important to you. I choose
    James 3 17-18
    17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.



  2. Kent Dorsey on June 22, 2023 at 10:11 am

    A great column today, I used to think that keeping my political opinions to myself was a downside to being in this business, but after I see all of the problems of people get in stew about disagreeing with others politically(and they aren’t going to change others minds), I have decided it is a pretty comfortable place to be in to be neutral in the community about issues.
    An area I am always shocked at, is the business social media site LinkedIn, where countless business people post strong political comments and leanings in the heat of political season, I quite enjoy disconnecting those from my LindedIn feed who submit that stuff – as that is a site I I would prefer to escape the political world. I cannot understand why anyone on LinkedIn seeking employment, or staff, or business would travel into the political world with their posts.



  3. Tom Anderson, Funeral Director Daily on June 21, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Your comment reminds me about our policy towards “construction signs”. On any construction project for our funeral home we gave all county licensed contractors the opportunity to bid. However, in the bid we made note that if the winning contractor wanted to put a “sign on site” that they are doing the work, there was a $2,500 charge for such.

    That virtually stopped any construction site signs on our property and allowed us to get work done with all contractors eligible, but did not “rub it in” to losing bidders. No one ever paid the $2,500 and no signs ever went up during the work.



  4. Danny Jefferson on June 21, 2023 at 7:27 am

    Great advice Sir! I would always have friends, on both sides of the political fence, requesting permission to put up signs supporting their campaign. I kindly told each of them I did not allow the placement of any type signs for any reason. It was simply my longstanding policy. I never had a negative pushback.



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