Virtue signalling is a phenomenon that has gained momentum worldwide. For instance, when the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement reached Thailand, Thai influencers and Thai social media users actively supported it. This example showcases the virality and power of virtue signalling. But what works for global corporations, like Nike, may not necessarily work for a company in Thailand. In our previous blog, we discussed the definition and the reasons why some corporations engage in virtue signalling, so we recommend reading Understanding Virtue Signalling as a Corporate Entity before continuing with this post. For a corporate entity, it is essential to identify opportunities and trends that can be capitalised upon; however, identifying the risk and consequences caused by making a decision is also important, if not more important, especially when it comes to following a trend like virtue signalling.
Here are some of the risks and effects associated with virtue signalling:
Virtue signalling without intent can be viewed as being fake
One of the main reasons why accusing someone of virtue signalling is considered an insult is the online history of those who virtue signal. Social media has created an atmosphere where people’s desire to be popular has become an addiction. Those addicted would be obsessed with gaining more attention and resort to inflating or even lying about their accomplishments. This has caused many people and organisations to be called out for being deceitful and not following through with their online statements or proclaimed commitments.
Public opinion regarding current narratives changes over time
Both the right and left have a history of utilising virtue signalling and increased passive broadcasting of certain political views. However, many people don’t realise that the narrative regarding a particular political view changes over time. A good example would be feminism. Five years ago, radical feminism was considered to be one of the leading progressive movements. Today, segments of the far-left consider feminists to be anti-transgender and thus call for ‘de-platforming’ them. This example shows how labels that are currently regarded as progressive could be regarded as anti-progressive in the future.
Virtue signalling can alienate consumers
Virtue signalling is tied to appealing to a certain belief system or political ideology. The utilisation of virtue signalling in a position of power, where most corporations stand, especially alienates consumers with an opposing belief system. As politics can be a rough slope to follow, organisations who take a stance to pursue a certain position will either continually lose some of their consumers over time or be viewed as enemies by both sides of the political spectrum.
Following global corporate trends provides advantages and disadvantages regardless of how popular and effective the initiatives are. At Midas PR, we can help your organisation identify new movements and explain in-depth each trend’s hows and whys. Our team of experts can help your organisation operate a new campaign without fear of the unknown factors that may affect it. Visit our website at www.midas-pr.com today for more information or get in touch with us by email.