Businesses have a single priority: making money. Don’t confuse their so-called social agenda as anything other than a marketing opportunity.
Our relationships with corporations are by definition transactional. We give them money, and in return they provide goods or services.
It’s a particularly American trait for us to extend greater meaning to our relationships with corporations. We identify with brands — what we think they represent — and utilize them as proxies for our identities, both to ourselves and to others.
But branding and cause marketing and commercials and messaging — all of it is for a single purpose: to generate revenue. This is the raison d’etre of corporations, which we should keep in mind when they attempt to insert themselves into our heated culture wars.
By now most are aware that Target — a place to buy underwear and cleaning supplies and luggage and electronics and swimsuits — pulled LGBTQ-friendly or branded merchandise from its stores after threats of violence to its employees and stores from homophobic, intolerant bigots concerned that some children’s sexual preferences would be forever influenced by items for sale at a department store.
Target, of course, will survive, although the hit to its bottom line was not insignificant — and might last a bit. Bud Light and its parent company Anheuser-Busch are still experiencing a similar backlash after making Pride-designed beer cans.
Personally, I’m not changing any of my purchasing habits after these incidents. I already don’t drink Bud Light, and have no intent to start now, simply because I don’t like that beer. (I also drank a lifetime’s worth of it during my freshman year of college.)
And I went to Target as recently as two weeks ago to buy undershirts and a suitcase, and will return without hesitation. The reason I go there is because they have things I need at a decent price, and no other.
That said, do I personally boycott stores because of their stances? There is a local coffee shop I used to love…but quit supporting when I found out their ownership financially contributes to forced-birth causes. I avoid Chick-fil-A, despite their fries, because of their homophobia.