Recently, Rachel wrote a blog post called Public Relations for Tennis Players. The main takeaway was that yes, a brand spokesperson should have their own voice on social media, but the person’s values also need to line up with the brand for risk of losing sponsorship, and therefore, earnings.
But tennis pro Nicole Gibbs isn’t the only one that needs to watch what she says. Just recently Disney and YouTube distanced themselves from PewDiePie, a popular YouTuber who has more than 53 million subscribers. Why? He posted a video with anti-Semitic remarks. With nearly every brand wanting to portray themselves as inclusive and equal opportunity, of course his sponsors and partners needed to distance themselves.
Similarly, Abbie wrote a blog post yesterday about job seekers sharing political posts on social media. Do these posts affect the hiring manager's thoughts on a candidate during or after the interview, therefore affecting if they are offered a job?
I had also recently heard about Kevin Plank, the founder, chairman and CEO of Under Armour (and also a former Terp, which is my alma mater!) calling Donald Trump “a real asset to this country” in an interview with CNBC’s Fast Money Halftime Report. What probably wasn’t intended to start a frenzy, quickly did when two of the brand’s top spokespeople spoke out against him: Misty Copeland on her Instagram and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on his Facebook.
The interpretation of Plank’s comment continued to spiral so much so that he thought it was important enough to take out a full-page ad in the Baltimore Sun, where the company is headquartered, to address Baltimoreans, on what the values of Under Armour actually are. While he didn’t mention President Trump by name, it was clear what the letter was in reference to. And Plank went as far as to explicitly state that Under Armour opposes the travel ban.
So yes, celebrity spokespeople, watch what you say to ensure you’re a good representation of the company that’s hired you; but CEOs, founders, executives, are you also hiring the right people you want to align with your brand and values? It’s also you that needs to watch what you say for the sake of your company and your employees.