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%.
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.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Bridgnorth outgoing president of funeral director’s association raises over US$ 35,000 for charity. Shropshire Star (Great Britain)
- Green burials, ash jewelry are a thing now in Michigan. Can state law adjust? Bridge (MI)
- Have hope, even when death comes to call. The Marietta Times (OH)
- Army extends Arlington National Cemetery’s horse use suspension to focus on rehabilitation. WTOP News (MD)
- Green burials not common in county yet. The Times-Gazette (OH)
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