'People Can Smell BS A Mile Away' — Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary Says Dishonesty Will Get You 'Canceled In 2 Seconds'

Start generating passive income through real estate.

Own a piece of your favorite cities through diversified real estate investments in the country's top markets

*Terms and conditions apply. Visit Nada's website for more details.

Kevin O’Leary, the renowned "Shark Tank" star and startup investor, recently shared insights on LinkedIn about the importance of authenticity in business. 

According to O’Leary, attempting to use divisive or insincere tactics for selling products can backfire significantly. "People can smell BS a mile away," he stated, emphasizing that dishonesty is bad business and can lead to a swift backlash.

O’Leary explained that while not everyone may agree with a company’s message, transparency and truthfulness maintain credibility. "You can't use partisan issues that you don’t really believe in to sell people stuff. It won't work, and it’s not good business," he remarked. This approach, he suggests, is crucial in avoiding the pitfalls that lead to what he calls being "cancelled in 2 seconds' by consumers.

Don't Miss:

O'Leary's insights are echoed by examples of brands that have faced backlash due to their political stances or marketing strategies. For instance, in 2015, Univision canceled its broadcast of the Miss USA pageant following controversial remarks by Donald Trump, reflecting the network's stance on his comments about Mexican immigrants. Similarly, companies like Target, Bud Light, and Disney have encountered criticism for their support of the LGBTQ community, demonstrating the polarizing effect of aligning brand messaging with social or political issues.

Businesses must maintain a delicate balance in their messaging. On one hand, a company's core values can resonate deeply with a segment of its audience, bolstering loyalty and enhancing brand identity. However, this can also polarize potential and existing customers who do not share the same views.

Trending: Warren Buffett flipped his neighbor's $67,000 life savings into a $50 million fortune — How much is that worth today?

Highlighting the consequences of disregarding customer sentiments, O’Leary warned, "When you make a large group of your customers angry enough to stop buying your product, you have killed your business." He pointed out that losing customers’ trust and support equates to losing the game. "You have lost the game, and you've failed," he reiterated. This scenario not only affects immediate sales but can also tarnish a company's reputation long-term, making recovery challenging.

A CBS article delineates similar concerns: "unless your business is politics, keep politics out of your business." The article explains that political stances are inherently polarizing and could alienate up to half of a company's stakeholders — including customers and vendors — as soon as they are voiced.

Political stances become irrelevant during the economic boom as the general populace focuses more on economic well-being than political disputes. Conversely, in economic downturns, influential business leaders focus on pragmatic decisions to safeguard their enterprises, often setting aside personal political beliefs to prioritize business stability. This highlights the overarching irrelevance of politics in critical business decisions, emphasizing the primary duty of business leaders to ensure organizational resilience.

O'Leary's message highlights a crucial lesson for businesses: maintaining integrity in customer relations and marketing strategies is vital. His advice reflects a deep understanding of the dynamics that govern business success and failure, underscoring the necessity for an authentic approach in all business dealings.

Keep Reading:

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: Real EstateKevin O' LearyReal Estate Access
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!