'Companies Should Avoid Getting Involved in Questions Beyond Their Business'

That's the advice of Daniel Diermeier, chancellor of Vanderbilt University and a reputation scholar.  

He was specifically referring to general policy questions, for instance.  But very often, broader societal issues do affect their business – marketing campaigns, taxes, etc.  "So companies have to work very hard to get this right in a very, very polarized context," he said on CNN Business.

"It matters whether the issue directly affects your business.  You have to be clear about how it affects your business.  Getting these decisions right is very important. Polarization in the U.S. is much more calcified than it was two or three decades ago.  What's driving electoral politics is driving brand perception in exactly the same way," Diermeier explained. He added:  

A-B wants to support the LBGTQ community, of course, "but it has to do that in a way that avoids a polarized battle.  It's not about stepping away from supporting your people – you've got to support your people – but you've got to do it in the right way."

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