Corporate Leaders? Or Corporate Followers?

Questions: What do The First National Bank of Omaha and Alamo Rent a Car have in common? What does MetLife share with Delta Airlines? What’s the similarity between Symantec and Allied Van Lines?

Answers: In recent days leaders of each of these companies cut (though not entirely) their connections to the National Rifle Association. In recent days leaders of each of these companies made a business decision based on pressures exerted by followers. In recent days leaders of each of these companies was constrained both by changing cultures and technologies.

Gun control is one of the issues – others include immigration and discrimination – on which America’s business leaders are being pushed to take positions they preferred to avoid. Until now leaders of the above-named companies were content to maintain their previously existing ties to the gun lobby. Only in response to political pressures – mainly from young people and their allies using social media to express outrage – from below did they finally conclude that the better part of valor was to change course.

58% of millennials, 55% pf GenXers, and 51% of baby boomers think it important that the businesses and brands they support reflect their views on issues their care about. Recently frayed ties to the NRA do not, then, reflect corporate leadership so much as they do corporate followership.

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