When it comes to social causes such as Pride and LGBTQ+ rights, many law firms prefer to stay silent. They think it’s better to steer clear of messages that are even remotely political. Taking a stand will turn consumers off, right?

But will it?

As consumers and potential new clients become more socially conscious, brands that stay quiet on important social issues are actually losing a chance to connect with their audiences on a deeper, more emotional level. Brands that have the courage to take a stand earn trust. More importantly, they have integrity.

Here’s why brands need to step up and speak out now, more than ever — and why it will help them grow their businesses.

What Brands Think that Consumers Think

Law firms may want to show support for marginalized people such as the LGBTQ+ community, but when it comes to showing public support for Pride, they get scared.

Companies may think that some people have negative feelings about brands taking a social stand. Or that consumers may feel their apparent support is insincere or the brand is just trying to capitalize on a trend. Or that brands should stick to their core mission of selling products and not get involved in social issues.

After all, when Bud Light sent transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney a few beers that she drank on Instagram, the resulting boycott earned headlines for months. Bud Light salespeople experienced harassment; sales contracted; think pieces proliferated on the internet. What law firm would want that kind of negative press?

After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, brands tripped over themselves to publish statements of support for people of color. Three years later, as the pendulum has swung back and outraged Karens clutch pearls over rainbows at Target, some brands have panicked due to the backlash and tried to “neutralize” their positions supporting people of color and the queer community.

This is a huge mistake.

What Consumers Really Think About Brands Taking a Stand

I am a firm believer that to be a relevant brand today, you must take your values off the wall and live them in everything you do. Being an authentic, living brand that adapts to change (Jaffe’s motto!) and cares about human beings will connect with more loyal supporters than identities designed just to make a profit.

Emotion drives us to spend, collaborate and trust, so brands willing to get personal and be part of social issues will be the brands that newer generations will support.

It’s never easy to do what’s right. If you do, sure — some entertaining folks might try to start a public boycott of your firm — but it’s unlikely. An outraged Karen freaking out over a rainbow isn’t going to affect your bottom line, but it will bring more attention to your brand and probably more support for taking a stand.

On the other hand, waffling can turn off your followers. Brands should stick to a social stand instead of flip-flopping when a small group complains, because sticking to your principles helps establish consistency and authenticity. Flip-flopping risks appearing wishy-washy and insincere.

Clients want to know that a brand has a clear set of values and can be trusted to stand by those values. A strong, clear stance can help attract customers who share those values, creating a sense of community around the brand.

Sure, it’s important for brands to listen to feedback and criticism, but it’s equally important to stay true to their beliefs and not be swayed by every minor complaint.

Why Social Values Are Especially Important for Law Firms

Law firms and lawyers serve clients that are willing to stand for equality and diversity, like Bud Lite, Miller, Ford, Chevy, NFL, NASCAR, Dorito’s and so many more.

If those huge consumer-facing companies are willing to take a stand, trust me: They expect you to do so as well.

One of the most crucial things most clients look for in a law firm is whether their values align. When they do, clients are more confident their attorneys will represent them in a manner that is ethical and fair.

This is especially important when it comes to sensitive legal matters where reputation and livelihood are at stake.

I believe that when a law firm aligns with its clients’ values, it leads to a more positive and productive relationship. It helps build trust, which is crucial in any legal matter. It also means that the firm is more likely to understand their clients’ needs and concerns, and will work toward achieving goals in a way that is compatible with those values. The firm will develop a strong reputation and earn its clients’ trust.

Bravo to brands that are a part of the conversation, breaking stigmas and supporting humanity — and not just staying quiet rather than rocking the boat. I say rock the boat, and grow your audience, client and consumer base!

The takeaway is simple: Many consumers today are socially conscious and care about the values and beliefs of the brands they support. By taking a stand on social issues like Pride, businesses can demonstrate their genuine commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and build a stronger connection with their audiences. While some may argue that businesses should remain neutral, supporting social causes can actually be beneficial for both the brand and the communities it serves. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual business to decide where it stands, but it’s important to consider the potential impact on a reputation and customer base.

As a brand that supports the legal community, we at Jaffe believe in humanity and championing individuality and diversity. We stand for social issues and we celebrate Pride proudly. Reach out to me, Terry M. Isner,  at tmisner@jaffepr.com, to discuss how we can help you demonstrate how your values fit into your brand’s mission.