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Some of the world’s biggest brands are increasingly entering the fray over divisive political and social issues, particularly in the United States. Putting a stake in the ground on social issues such as marriage equality, immigration and the Confederate flag inherently raises business and communications questions. We need to consider such issues when working for, or counselling, these brands.

For those unfamiliar with the Confederate flag debate, South Carolina had been flying the flag over its statehouse grounds for decades. Proponents of the flag cited it as a symbol of the positive aspects of southern history, heritage and pride; detractors viewed it as a symbol of racism and division. Following a tragic, racially-motivated shooting in a South Carolina church, the controversy erupted anew, this time on a national level.

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