An interview with Phyllida Swift


Phyllida Swift is the CEO of Face Equality International.

Phyllida has worked with businesses on campaigns that get people thinking about the political issue of positive representation.

Watch her interview to hear her explain how she thinks businesses could be more involved in social and political issues.

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Comments (23)

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    I personally want to say kudos to brands that are concerned and worried about politics. I am saying this because from my point of view I feel they are acting as activists or (antigovernment) to try and protects humans or create awareness to people about a bad government by risking the chance of them losing customers which in my opinion they are very brave and truthful.
    All businesses that operate like this are good which I believe that one day they will change the world to a better place one's again kudos to them.
    Thank you!!

  • One thing that I suspect that brands might be worried about is the production of fake goods concerning their brand.
    For example, there are people that produce fake forms of brands eg NIKE, GUCCI, REEBOK, VERSACE, and the respective likes of others. So from my own perspective, that is a real issue that should be spoken about because it can lead to scarcity of costumers which will in turn crash the organization.

    1. Hello, stellar_reflection @ topical talk.
      I agree because... we the consumers are the reason for the success of fake brands; because if fake brands are not patronized by customers, it will cause the producers to go at a loss. Companies can also help the issue of counterfeit production of goods by educating their customers on the real and fake brand of goods so that they can be more cautious when buying goods. Companies can also encourage customers by giving out the original goods at a discount for a particular period of time to attract customers and draw their attention to the original product and its benefits. Standards of companies should be maintained in order not to lose customers to fake brands.
      I am open to other suggestions.
      THANK YOU.

      1. Hello allowing_peach @ topical talk
        I concur with you because manufacturers of products need to educate the public about their products and
        how to differentiate between the original and the counterfeited as you have clearly stated but from my point of view I do not blame some of the customers that by counterfeits of products which may be due to lack of money. A way that manufacturers can avoid counterfeiting is that producers can work together with the government to ban counterfeiting.
        I also want to also want to address the fact that the reason why some brands do not get a lot of patronage can be due to some of their products that are not strong or do not last long so I feel that manufacturers should also be worried about their own products also.

      2. I agree with you because we need to consider the fact that apart from what you said about we the consumers patronizing the goods, some people are also idle and want to make quick money.
        Many people in our present world today are idle and are lazy to work but they instead channel their intellect to thinking of quick money schemes, they also admire many successful people and don't work towards being like them in the sense that they like the goods and see they are thriving and make fakes because people usually patronize them, a good example is the crocs literide that is sold in huge quantity of fakes in Terminus market. Also another key factor that is leading to the making of these products is unemployment, many people who have good job qualifications but don't have the jobs, so they do these things in order to make money for their upkeep. But we can move towards making of fake products eradicated by:
        1. Not patronizing fake goods as you have earlier.
        2. Working with government to make sure goods in the market are real.
        3. Creating employment opportunities for the unemployed.
        4. Encouraging people not to be lazy but instead, teach them hardwork.
        5. Encouraging people to use their intellect to creating positive things.
        With this, we can successfully eradicate the selling and creation of fake goods. I am also willing to listen to other suggestions on how to stop the selling of fake products.
        THANK YOU.

      3. Indeed, companies do produce counterfeit goods in an attempt to become wealthy quickly. Brands need to be extremely concerned since, in due course, consumers will begin to detect flaws in the items, distinguishing between genuine and counterfeit goods. As a result, they will grow to detest the company and choose to patronize rival brands. Yes, I believe that this problem has to be addressed and resolved since losing customers would result in losses for the company and a decline in sales.

    2. I agree because... brands have quite a lot of things to worry about. I think that this is just one out of the many things that they can do. I think that other things they can be worried about is unfair competition. Unfair competition is using illegal, deceptive, and fraudulent selling practices that harm consumers or other businesses to gain a competitive advantage in the market. I think that brands should be beware of people like these.


    3. True over here in Plateau we have a market called terminus and many people sell fake goods there it is really hard to find quality products in the market and this really gives the originals a bad name, many people have stopped buying brands like Nike, Adidas, Jordans and many others irrespective of the fact that they are original or fake, these reduce the customers of these prestigious products, and if the customer number drops, they will lose profit, and they will have to increase the price of their goods making it harder for their remaining customers to buy them, pirates should know that their actions of making fake brands affects the whole world, and if they want to be successful they should start their own brands, that is why I agree with your smart comment @ stellar_reflection!!!!

    4. Hey stellar_reflection,
      I could not agree more because this is one of the major problems being faced in my country Nigeria, many renown brands are being replicated by fake versions so most times when you go shopping you need to double check to make sure the goods, you're buying aren't fake. This could also be a major problem to brand owners because people could settle for the cheaper replicates of their brands and the original brand owners would run at a loss because many people seek for a lower budget so they might choose to not buy the original and settle for the replicates or the fake versions of the brand.

    5. Your comment makes a lot of sense @stellar reflection counterfeiting is a very annoying problem in the society especially because the business is losing its customers to some random guys, but what if the people just wanted to start their own business and didn't have names for their products. Children do that a lot if they don't have a name for an idea, they make one by using names of stuff that they like. So what if counterfeiting by individuals was not intentional.

    6. I agree because... this thing is really getting out of hand and even worse some people are not able to identify between a fake and a real brand. But I think people are getting advantages because those extremely expensive brands like Jordans is used to brag and show off using a cheaper version. I have noticed this trend going on with coca cola and sometimes it tastes nothing like the original version. I think brands and businesses who sell products of brands should plan on a way to get the fake version of the items out of town. But I also think they should make a completely different business so that those who can't afford the real versions use the fake ones. The popular and preferred brands are being targeted. If this continues, people could stop buying products from that particular brand.

  • I think that one thing that the brand's might be worried about is the transportation problem. Companies like Apple , naked wolf , etc might have problem transporting their goods from where it is produced to other far countries and sometimes when they are transporting maybe by ship , the ship might sink and this will cause a lot of loss to both the company and the customer's .

    1. I will want to ask would you still be transporting your goods through ship knowing fully well of the risks involved?That it could cause loss to your company and for your customers.

      1. Hello, inventive signature.
        To answer your question, that is what entrepreneurship is all about, taking risks. An entrepreneur is someone who bears all the risks involved in starting and running a business for the purpose of making profit. If all the creators of brands we see today didn't take risks, nobody would be able to enjoy the quality products we do today. People took risks and went far. It's like the popular saying goes; "You'll never know unless you try."
        True, sometimes taking risks can go horribly wrong and business starters may lose all their money, but fear should never stop us from doing what we want to do.

    2. I think the solution to this is for companies like this should build more center of production in places far away this might reduce the risk of damage or destruction of goods. This can also ensure a more suitable supply chain and it can also help them reach new marketers and customer efficiently

  • Hello topical talkers.
    To my way of thinking, I have to say that nothing can affect a business more than lack of funds. It is through funds that a business is brought about. In other words, "the capital" of a business. Other things like expansion rate in products and services, payment of staff salary, maintenance for assets and so on relies on the funds available for a business. I feel the government can help such cases by giving loans and drafts to small scale business owners to secure capital for startup or expansion of a business.
    Thank you.

  • Airbnb is an example of a company that is being involved in political issues. According to Business Chief, one week after the former United States President Donald Trump signed an order to temporary close the US borders to refugees, the company decided air an ad which was not in support of the new order. The were rather in support of more people coming in and exploring the world by visiting different places.
    According to Airbnb News Room "To date, the team has connected more than 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers to temporary housing, including more than 50,000 people who have fled the conflict in Ukraine." I think this is a very good way that the company have done their corporate social responsibility.

    1. Interesting fact about Airbnb! Can you provide a source for this information?

    2. I agree with this your example because I have been able to realize through this your point that businesses can actually help in politics through making organisations that solve the problems that Government can't solve such as this example that you gave and encouraged that you can create businesses in order to solve political problems and help the government in their duties if they can't perform them.
      THANK YOU.

  • Brands get involved in politics by investing their money and giving their unspoken support to politicians in election campaigns. In turn for this, their business is supported and expanded by the politicians. Brands get worried if they don’t support powerful politicians because the politicians have the power to destroy businesses. However, these entrepreneurs who try to maintain relationships with politicians cannot fully focus on the demands and desires of their customers. Thus, such a company is never able to break the barrier between the employees and the customers and destroy the sole purpose of a business.

    1. I totally agree with you! This us what happens especially in big brands worldwide. This is how politics and businesses mix but as an unspoken law.
      Some of them need to support politicians with big influence so they will later help them to make them more profitable. The same thing happens with media. When a media station is in favor of a politician or a party then they use their influence to change perceptions. So.e of they tend to be funded by government especially during elections.

  • In reply to phyllida swift, I wonder why people get disgusted with some people because of their looks, and like they say, "don't judge the book by its cover" and it can also mean don't judge people by their apperance cuz the person might be of excellent character but with terrible looks and the good looking person might be very bad.
    And in my opinion, peoples' business should not be determined by their looks

  • I think that brands should be careful about engaging in political issues, because they might harm their reputation and lose customers, especially in a polarized society. The news reflects different aspects of society, mostly politics, and brands might lose focus on their main purpose, which is to serve consumers, if they get too involved in it. For instance, some brands might benefit from the support of powerful and influential politicians, but they might also lose that support if they offend or threaten them with their political views. Moreover, the politician might try to damage the brand's reputation by spreading false or negative information about it in the media. I believe that, apart from genuity, reputation is what sustains a business in an environment of competition.

  • I feel that brands should be more worried about is consumer loyalty because it is a key factor in today's competitive market. Many brands choose to express their stance on political issues, but is this a smart strategy? While it may appeal to some loyal supporters, but it might also alienate others with different views. Customers are the main source of revenue for any brand, so communicating with them effectively is important to generate interest and sales. Besides getting some free exposure, what is the advantage of taking a risk by joining politics?
    Instead of risking their reputation by getting involved in politics, brands should focus on adapting to the changing needs and preferences, especially in the e-commerce sector. The pandemic has accelerated the development of e-commerce worldwide. And so, responding to this trend should be a major priority for brands onward. This may require them to rethink their distribution, strategy and media investment, and to offer more convenience and value to their customers.
    Although, some are exploring direct-to-consumer options, and searching for ways to make it easier for consumers to repeat purchase. Brands that can leverage e-commerce effectively will have an edge over their competitors in the future.

  • Answering some of Phyllida's questions in the interview;
    I think what people can do if they are happy is to continue buying their products/ resources and encouraging other people to buy their resources weekly. People should also make good/positive comments on whatever the brand is posting on social media.
    I think what people can do if they are unhappy is to start boycotting the brand and start to protest against the brand. They can also start complaining and making bad comments on their social media page/handles.

  • I think I would support brands to speak out on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG goals). I choose this because it helps countries to;
    1. Promote and ensure equal rights;
    Without SDG goal 1, 2, 4, 5 we will not be able to have equal rights because rights will only be for the rich.
    2. Positively promote/support climate change;
    Without SDG goals 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 15 we will not be able to do or know anything about climate change
    3. Ensure sustainable communities;
    Without SDG goal 16, 9, 12, 8 we will not be able to have sustainable communities
    4. Easily combine the SDG’s
    If we do combine all of the SDG’s goals (17) we will be able to have a good country.
    That is what we are lacking in the world

  • When brands involve themselves in politics, it can potentially alienate certain customer segments or spark controversy, affecting their reputation and sales. For instance, if a brand openly supports a divisive political issue or candidate, it may lead to boycotts or negative publicity, harming their bottom line.

    To brands that are worried about getting involved in politics, I would advise caution and strategic consideration. It's crucial for brands to thoroughly assess the potential risks and benefits of political involvement. They should focus on aligning with values that resonate with their target audience and avoid taking extreme or polarizing stances that could alienate customers. Additionally, maintaining transparency and authenticity in their actions can help alleviate backlash and maintain trust among consumers.

  • If brands jump into politics, they might upset some people and lose money. So, they should think hard before diving in. It's smart to stick to values most customers like and not pick fights. Also, being honest and real can help avoid big problems.

  • I think most of the business companies and brand will be worried about getting pure raw materials in future. In the upcoming days, it will be very tough to collect pure or organic raw materials for making products. The food or snacks company will not be able to get fresh crop due to the excessive use of pesticide to increase the growth of the crops. Again, different brands which use plant as raw materials will also suffer for not getting adequate raw materials. As the demand of people is increasing, if we don't look for alternative raw materials or produce more raw materials, then the brands and business are going to face a great loss. For this reason, brands are now a days worried about getting required amount and pure raw materials.

  • HELLO!
    This is a complex issue, but i think it's important for businesses to consider the potential impact on their reputation and customer base before taking a stance. Some examples of brands that faced backlash includes companies that supported controversial policies or made statements that didn't align with their customer's beliefs. It's a delicate balance, and businesses need to be carefully weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks before getting involved in politics.

    If i were talking to brands that are worried about getting involved in politics, i would say it's totally understandable to have concerns. It's important for businesses to prioritize their customer's needs and preferences. Before making any decisions, brands should thoroughly research and understand their target audience to gauge how they might react to political involvement. It's also crucial to consider the potential risks and benefits that come with taking a stance. Ultimately, businesses should focus on maintaining a strong brand identity and building genuine connections with their customers.

    1. Hello! You've brought up a crucial point about the delicate balance businesses must strike when considering involvement in politics. Indeed, maintaining a strong brand identity while being mindful of customer sentiments is essential for long-term success. Thorough research and understanding of the target audience's values and beliefs are key in making informed decisions. Building genuine connections with customers and prioritizing their needs can help businesses navigate this complex terrain effectively. Thank you for sharing your insights!

  • I think.....
    Certainly, there have been instances where brands getting involved in politics have faced concerns or controversies. Here are a few examples:

    Boycotts and Backlash:

    Concern: Brands taking a stance on politically divisive issues might face public backlash and calls for boycotts from individuals with differing opinions.
    Example: Companies that openly supported or opposed specific social or political movements have faced criticism, leading to customer boycotts.
    Misalignment with Values:

    Concern: If a brand's political engagement appears inconsistent with its established values or the expectations of its target audience, it can lead to loss of trust.
    Example: A brand known for environmental sustainability facing criticism for supporting policies perceived as environmentally harmful.
    Employee Morale:

    Concern: Political involvement by a brand may impact employee morale, especially if employees feel their values are not aligned with those of the company.
    Example: Publicized internal dissent or employee protests against a company's political affiliations.

    Thank you.

  • I think the only way a brand can get involved with politics is when they lie , make their prices too high or copy someones other idea.

  • The truth is I can't think of any other brand but what I would say to brands would be to continue supporting

  • I firstly want to thank Phylidia Swift for the huge effort she's trying to impact as an Acivist.
    So back to the question, I feel like the brands would be mainly worried about the fact that there might be scarcity of that particular product.
    The are some current brands that don't have the liquid security in order to collect loans that could be able to save them from their loss. And this would lead them in producing fake goods in order to keep their brand's name still standing.
    This would mainly be to the loss of the citizens that would aqcuire the fake goods because it would be wastage of time, money etc.
    And i said mainly because all the loss wouldn't go to the citizen. Some of it would affect the company itself if they are being caught by federal agencies.

  • Hello
    There are many examples of brands getting involved in politics that might be concerning to their business. Some I know about are :
    In 2018, Nike launched an ad campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who had been a controversial figure due to his protests against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. The campaign sparked both support and backlash, with some customers burning their Nike products in protest.
    Also n 2017, Starbucks announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees in response to the Trump administration's travel ban. While the move was praised by some for its support of refugees, others criticized Starbucks for wading into political territory and called for a boycott of the chain.

    For brands that are worried about getting involved in politics, I would suggest that they Stay True to Your Values and Ensure that any political involvement aligns with your brand's core values and is consistent with your messaging. I would also suggest them to Be Transparent and Clearly communicate your reasons for getting involved in politics and be open to feedback from customers and stakeholders. Lastly, I would suggest them to Consider the Long-Term Impact by Thinking about the potential long-term consequences of your political involvement on your brand's reputation and business performance.
    Thank You.

  • When a brand openly supports a specific political party.Brands that publicly take a stance on controversial social or political issues risk facing backlash from consumers who hold different opinions. This can result in boycotts, negative publicity and damage to the brand's reputation. For example :
    1. Ben & Jerry's: The ice cream company Ben & Jerry's is known for its active involvement in social and political issues. They have taken stances on issues such as climate change and racial justice. The company often uses its packaging, advertising and social media platforms to advocate for causes they believe in.

    2.Airbnb: Airbnb has taken a stand on political issues such as immigration and discrimination. In response to the Trump administration's travel ban in 2017, the company offered free housing to individuals affected by the ban.They had also launched a campaign called "We Accept" to promote inclusivity and acceptance.That's why, they received backlash from those who support Trump's law.

    The brands that are worried about getting involved in politics, they shouldn’t give any statement about political views on their business official website. They should analyze their target audience's values, beliefs and preferences.
    They should ensure that any political involvement aligns with their brand's core values and purpose, as consumers are increasingly seeking brands that stand for something meaningful.They must measure the potential impact on their business including the possibility of backlash, boycotts or negative publicity.

  • Hi there,
    It's essential for brands to conduct thorough market research to gauge public sentiment and anticipate potential reactions. Striking a balance between genuine social responsibility and avoiding divisive stances can help mitigate risks. Engaging in constructive conversations with stakeholders, including employees and customers, can provide valuable insights and build a more informed approach to navigating political involvement. Brands should also be prepared to adapt their strategies based on evolving societal perspectives and be mindful of the dynamic nature of political landscapes.
    Several prominent brands have ventured into the political sphere. Like,

    1. **Ben & Jerry's:** Actively supports various social and political causes through their ice cream packaging and public statements.

    2. **Patagonia:** Vocal about environmental issues and sustainable practices, often taking a stance on political matters related to climate change.

    3. **Chick-fil-A:** Faced controversy due to its CEO's stance on traditional marriage, leading to both support and boycotts.

    4. **Uber:** Involvement in political discussions, such as immigration policies, led to both praise and criticism, showcasing the impact of corporate stances on public perception.

    5. **Nike:** Made headlines with its "Dream Crazy" campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, taking a stand on racial injustice and police brutality. Nike's engagement in this social and political issue sparked both support and controversy.
    Thank you all for the chance to speak.

  • I believe that what brands could be worried about is the decrease in interaction or general purchase of their product if they fall into a position of receiving a lot of hateful or overall negative feedback for speaking out ona political issue.
    I think what i would say to these brands, is to - as already mentioned by Phyllida Swift - consult and interact with people with different opinions on the topic and specifically experts of the topic as well as people part of the group, if the brand is speaking out for a specific collective of poeple. It is very important to reflect on and asses the statements planning to be made so you can make sure you can fully stand behind it, even if it does face some harsher critique. I think if the brand actually believes in the cause it is supporting the risk of experiencing a marketing faux-pas, so to say is a lot slighter.