In the age of the hyperconnected workforce, it’s become clear that personal beliefs have spilled over into our work lives and the lines between public and private sphere have blurred. New generations of workers especially expect work/life integration.

Of course, this affects what many consumers expect of the companies they do business with, which forces brands to decide how actively they want to participate in the public forum and how much they want to align with a cause or express a political viewpoint.

There are opportunities and risks associated with this choice—and getting it right isn’t always easy. The decision sends a message. Recent research suggests that diving in is the way to gain and maintain relevance and currency with today’s consumer.

Particularly for brands eyeing the Millennial and Gen Z demographics, the benefits of taking a stand are significant. We dug through the latest market research reports and surveys and found common themes:

  • Activist Youth. Support for brands taking political stances is strongest among younger consumers.
  • The Politics of Wallet Share. Brand engagement with politics is more important to liberals than conservatives.
  • CSR is Table Stakes. Corporate responsibility and social-good brings the most opportunity for brandbenefits and societal impact, without isolating different audience segments.
  • You Can’t Fake It. The more closely and authentically connected the issue is to the brand’s identity, the more it resonates with consumers and engenders trust.

Like any good communications effort, your strategy should begin with knowing your audience. What is important to them? How does that align with your brand values? Without a doubt, if you are focused on a younger employee or customer base, you’ll take a hit—or be ignored—for not standing for something.

If you are going to have a perspective, be authentic in your voice and consistent in your actions. Any hint of surface-level programs or lack of knowledge on a topic will create blow back. It’s the intention and effort that builds trust, credibility and ultimately brand lift. If you take action, do it because your brand’s community truly believes it’s the right thing to do. Speak your truth, and theirs.