“Give Me Freedom…” Should Your Brand Include Political Standing?
There are a lot of things that don’t mix well with your career. One of the obvious ones is religion. But what about politics?
Do you talk about politics at work? In your blog posts? On Twitter or Facebook? This is linking your personal brand with a political standing – and can be a quick way to turn off potential employers, clients, customers or audience members.
Here are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t mix politics and your personal brand:
It alienates people who feel differently than you
There’s a reason why politics are in the media so often: they’re controversial. They cause strong reactions in folks. If a client or customer doesn’t agree with your political standing, they might stop using your products or services. Can your business or career take that? I’m guessing the answer is no.
Politics typically don’t have anything to do with your business or career
Would you tweet content about religion? Write about it on your blog? Probably not—because it doesn’t have anything to do your established brand and career path. Although you might feel strongly about a specific political candidate or issue, being outspoken about it on personal branding platforms can pull focus away from you and your career or business.
In fact, talking about politics or endorsing candidates could get you in trouble at work. An article on MSNBC published before the conclusion of the 2008 presidential election details how:
Nearly 40 percent of companies have written policies prohibiting workers from handing out literature endorsing political parties or candidates, according to a just-released survey by the American Management Association. But what you discuss around the water cooler or on your personal blog is typically not something businesses spell out in employee handbooks.
While state and federal employees, as well as union members, offer some protection when it comes to free speech and work, most employees don’t often have a leg to stand on. Only four states — California, New York, Colorado and North Dakota — have some protections for employees who get involved in politics away from the office or plant, but even those laws are limited, legal experts say.
Although politics can cause controversy for your personal brand, there might be a few exceptions when it’s appropriate to share politics with your network. For example, if a political issue or bill will affect your industry, it could be useful to write up a blog post or tweet the information to grab your audience’s attention. When else do you believe it’s appropriate to mix politics and your brand?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.
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