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But the election of Trump, and the white-hot reaction to his most polarizing policies, has turned feel good platitudes that might have once helped boost sales into something quite different.Instead of bland, crowd-pleasing statements about mission and beliefs, customers now expect — and sometimes demand — that big-name companies take stands on political issues.Some would be directly affected by the policy, which the government can't enforce because of federal appeals court rulings against it.

Facebook was one of the first to take a stand against the immigration ban, with CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg writing that it would "make all Americans less safe." Facebook has real business reasons to oppose the ban.

Like many tech giants, a large proportion of its employees are immigrants.

"This conversation is really at the front end of what every board room in America is thinking about," Salomon told Business Insider. Starbucks needed to satisfy employees — it has workers' organizations including the Black Partners Network, the Pride Alliance Network, and the Latino Hora del Café Partner Network — and CEO Howard Schultz, an atypically political executive in the retail industry.

"It's no longer about, 'Should I give to the local school, is my supply chain sustainable? The executives wrestled with the fact that while Starbucks' response couldn't require in-store employees to face down angry customers, empty gestures wouldn't work either.

"We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question," Schultz wrote, quickly attracting boycott threats from pro-Trump customers.

Last modified 16-Sep-2016 00:08