• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

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North Carolina HB2 demonstrates a brand failure

The brand of North Carolina is a mess. In case you have missed it, the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed HB2, which is a bill that targets the LGBT community. It blocks some rights and allows for discrimination against gay and transgender people. It also prevents local municipalities from enacting laws that go against HB2. Meaning, that even if the good people of North Carolina disagree with the law en masse, they still can’t do anything about it.

Further, it bars transgender people from using a bathroom fitting their appearance, forcing them to use the bathroom of their biological sex. If you want to see how stupid this is, take a look at the picture to the left:

HB2
The HB2 law will force Jay to go to the women’s restroom.

This is Jay Shef (@JayShef). From now on, he will be required to use the women’s restroom. Because according to the new law, which is supposed to make it safer for kids & women, he in all of his manly glory will be peeing with my wife, my daughters, and my granddaughter because he was born a woman. Can’t wait to have to explain that one. Oh by the way I forgot to say that both the owner of the bathroom and the individual can be fined if the wrong bathroom is used.

What HB2 does to North Carolina’s brand.

In a world where society has told people to just be yourself, suddenly North Carolina is telling people to “Just be your self but…”

And while this is a travesty for the LGBT community on a variety of levels, the brand of North Carolina is now about something that very few want to be associated with – discrimination and bigotry. Brand is supposed to be a reflection of those that use it.

So, PayPal just cancelled a $3.6M investment in NC that would have brought in 400 new highly paid jobs to Charlotte. New York state, San Francisco, Washington state, Washington DC, Seattle, the cities of Atlanta and Boston, Vermont and Minnesota have announced government employee travel bans to NC. The High Point Furniture Market, the largest furnishings trade show in the world and the largest economic event in the state, has announced that it has received a number of vendor and buyer cancellations due to the bill.

Virginia M. Roomette, chairwoman, president and CEO of IBM, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo and Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook have all signed an opposition letter frankly stating that HB2 will make it “far more challenging for business across the state to recruit and retain the nations best and brightest workers…” And the list keeps growing.

Clearly, many prominent businesses and their executive managements see the North Carolina brand as diametrically opposed to who they are – and they clearly do not want to be associated with it.

Brand in its most powerful form tells customers and prospects who it is for AND who it is NOT for. It seems as though the brand of North Carolina is now for those who think its okay to discriminate.

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