As a $250 billion industry, our brands and retailers reach an estimated 50 million consumers. Many of them follow and interact with us on social media. They have a two-way conversation, respect what we stand for, and listen to what we say. So, the net effect of all of this is influence. As an industry, we have a broad reach and a loud voice, both of which can have a real impact on important issues.
That is how it started. A simple conversation about influence quickly morphed into a campaign to mobilize our reach as an industry to encourage participation in this crucial election.
In the early days of the COVID outbreak, soon after the cancellation of Expo West, I reached out to some friends in the industry. I thought it would be helpful to bring a group of people together to discuss how to best react to the impact all the fast-moving changes were having on our businesses and on those we serve. As things settled into this new-normalcy, we began to broaden our discussion and view.
Over the past few weeks, our conversation became laser-focused on the importance of this election and its impact on our country and planet. We circled back to the powerful voice of this industry. How could we best use it right now, when so many things are at stake?
We determined that it wasn’t our place to tell people how to vote, but rather it was imperative to encourage them to vote. Democracy is messy. The last four years have shown us its many flaws. But the process is at its best when the majority of its citizens participate.
As an industry, we need to mobilize the 50 million we influence. We need to educate, enable, and encourage our consumers to be stakeholders in this election.
We’ve launched an open-source campaign, “Grow The Vote.” We’ve created collateral that one can use to help communicate with our constituency about the importance of their vote. Not just for president, but also how their vote at the state and local levels can effect real change.
You can find all the materials created by following this Dropbox link. Use them for social media posts, as part of your email signatures, but don’t stop there. Take action within your own organization. How can you rally those around you to vote? As a business owner, can you give them the day off? What can you do to be a stakeholder in this election process?
Speaking up and speaking out can be frightening. No doubt, when you stand on one side or another it will attract some and repel others. That is the beauty of this campaign. Regardless of political affiliation or a stance on specific policies or issues, it is hard to argue against the simple message that everyone must exercise their democratic right to vote.
I believe that if we can get the majority of our citizens to participate in this messy democracy, we will elect the political leaders who will make the right decisions for our country and planet. Join me and the other “Friends of the Industry” to Grow the Vote. Our future depends on it! To not leverage our collective influence would be a terrible waste.
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