Will political polarization stop companies from backing social causes? 

Companies eyeing the polarized election and its aftermath may be tempted to back away from supporting hot-button social issues. But experts say sitting on the sidelines won’t pay off, no matter the reputational risks, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Following record turnout for both major candidates in this month’s U.S. presidential election, some businesses are seeking to balance support for social issues while not alienating major segments of their audience who feel otherwise.

The heightened threat of backlash hasn’t stopped some from doubling down on commitments to the social causes of their choice.

“It used to be, ‘The less we say about this the better, because we’re only going to get ourselves into trouble,’” says Jonathan Copulsky, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management who focuses on brand management. “On the social-justice issues [today], I can’t think of a large organization where not saying anything benefits them at this point.”

Even as these companies are pushing ahead on their support of social causes, in many cases they also are evaluating their stakeholders and calibrating their messaging to remain as apolitical as possible.

“There is always a risk you anger your workforce or you lose a customer,” says Tim Ryan, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ U.S. chairman. “But the flip side of that—the bigger risk—is you don’t adapt to the opportunities out there, to innovate … or to attract a different kind of customer.”  Read the full story.