business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, in our Eye-Opener, we took note of how footwear company New Balance encountered a post-election backlash from some customers after its vice president for communications, Matt LeBretton, referring specifically to Donald Trump's promises regarding trade policy, said after his victory that 'we feel things are going to move in the right direction'."

The Associated Press now reports that the company is having to distance itself from a white supremacist website that called for people to support New Balance precisely because of those initial comments.

According to the story, "the alt-right website The Daily Stormer proclaimed Boston-based New Balance the 'Official Shoes of White People' this weekend.

In its response, New Balance said, "‘‘As a 110-year-old company with five factories in the U.S. and thousands of employees worldwide from all races, genders, cultures and sexual orientations, New Balance is a values-driven organization and culture that believes in humanity, integrity, community and mutual respect for people around the world."
KC's View:
Two things. First, New Balance - and every other company - needs to learn from this experience. Nothing wrong with commenting on public policy and supporting people who take supportive positions, but it is important to be specific ... and to be very careful especially during a time of political unrest.

That said, my second point would be that after New Balance made the follow-up point that it was merely commenting on its support of policies that aid companies that try to make products in the United States, I would've gone one step farther, just to be clear. I would've told the people at The Daily Stormer to go to hell ... because they and their white supremacist opinions are disgusting.

Just to be clear.

Of course, this is probably why I don't work in corporate communications. or public relations. Or government relations. Because "go to hell" would've been the mild version of what I really wanted to say.