Taking a stand is no longer optional

In today’s socially conscious world, taking a stand on social issues is no longer just an option for businesses and organizations—it’s a necessity. People like to buy from companies that share their values and demonstrate a commitment to making a positive impact on society. When your business gets involved in social issues, you build trust and strong connections with your customers. This helps you stand out in a busy market and earn a reputation as a responsible and forward-thinking leader.

Be authentic

Yet, before your company starts talking about its stance on social issues, you must be grounded in genuine authenticity. For example, Red Shoes has a unique culture rooted in diversity and inclusion and demonstrates this through flexible work policies like floating holiday observances and mandatory cultural competency training for employees. Red Shoes is not just talking the talk; Red Shoes is walking the walk. If your business wants to support social causes, being genuine to your values is crucial. This authenticity should be the base of any strong and believable strategy for social responsibility, both inside and outside the company.

Current climate demands action

In today’s world and the current climate, you can’t be passive. Your business needs to actively and responsibly support social issues. This is a beginner’s guide to social advocacy. Read on to learn why it’s important to take a stand, what risks are involved and how to support social causes without upsetting your target audience or partners.

Benefits of being an advocate

When businesses take a stand on important issues, it not only boosts their image but also helps society. Here are some additional benefits:

1. Builds trust

Consumers today are socially conscious. They expect businesses to share their values and take a stand on issues that are important to them. When companies do this, they build trust and loyalty with their clients and partners.

2. Attracts and retains talent

Employees want to work for companies that reflect their values. Supporting social causes can boost employee morale and attract new talent. A company seen as a force for good will naturally draw individuals passionate about making a difference.

3. Standing out in a crowded market

In a saturated market, supporting social causes can make your business unique. By championing important issues, you create a strong brand identity that appeals to consumers who care about social responsibility.


While supporting social issues has benefits, it also comes with risks. Knowing these risks helps you make smart decisions and handle the challenges of taking a public stand.

1. Potential backlash

Marketing to everyone means you market to no one. Therefore, speaking out on controversial topics can upset some consumers. It’s important to expect and be ready for this reaction.

2. Misalignment with brand values

If your support for a cause seems fake or insincere, it can damage your brand. Make sure your actions match your words and align with your causes. For example, if you support a social issue, ensure the organizations you donate to support that cause. Also, your employee policies should reflect your values. Authenticity and alignment, both internally and externally, are critical.

3. Legal and regulatory challenges

Supporting certain causes can attract legal and regulatory attention. Be aware of the laws and rules related to your stance and follow all necessary regulations.

How to advocate

Advocacy needs a careful plan. Here are some steps to help you advocate and stay true to your organizational values.

1. Know your audience

Understanding your audience is key. Research what matters most to your clients and employees. Support issues you believe in to stay authentic.

2. Align with core values

Make sure your advocacy matches your company’s core values. This keeps your efforts genuine and builds trust.

3. Be transparent

Be open about your intentions, actions and any challenges. Honesty helps you connect with your audience and builds credibility.

Case studies and success stories

Learning about successful companies can help your efforts. Here are a few examples:


Patagonia supports environmental issues as part of its brand. They show this through their products, business practices and donations.


Nike’s decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign was a strategic move that resonated deeply with its audience. Despite facing backlash, Nike leaned into the controversy, even creating an ad on how to burn its merchandise responsibly. This bold stance demonstrated its unwavering commitment to social justice, ultimately strengthening its brand. The campaign increased sales by 31% in the first week and added $6 billion to Nike’s market value.

In contrast, Budweiser featured an LGBTQ+ advocate in its ads but quickly withdrew support after facing criticism. This retreat led to a loss of customer trust and a decline in sales. The inconsistency in their advocacy efforts highlights the importance of staying true to one’s values.

Guide to implementing advocacy

Implementing advocacy into your business needs careful planning and execution. Here are some steps to guide you:

1. Define your advocacy goals

Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve. What issues do you want to address? What impact do you hope to make?

2. Engage with stakeholders

Talk to your stakeholders—customers, employees, investors and community members. Understand their views and gain their support.

3. Develop a strategy

Create a detailed strategy that outlines your advocacy efforts. This should include your message, target audience and actions you’ll take.

4. Measure and adapt

Regularly monitor the impact of your advocacy efforts. Be ready to adapt your strategy as needed. Ongoing evaluation will help you stay aligned with your goals and make timely adjustments.

Not going away

Corporate advocacy is not just a trend; it’s a necessity in today’s socially conscious world. By taking a stand on important issues, you can build trust, attract talent and differentiate your business.

Get started

However, it’s crucial to approach advocacy responsibly and authentically. You need to understand the risks, align with your core values and engage openly with your customers, employees and community.

Ready to make a difference? Contact Red Shoes for help creating an authentic, strategy that reaches your stakeholders.

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