When Standing for Values Drives Counter-Intuitive Results

Every company wants to adhere to its values but occasionally that’s not so easy. When CVS banned tobacco sales, it was forecast to be a $1 billion revenue hit. When Dick’s Sporting Goods raised the minimum age to purchase guns and also stopped selling high-capacity magazines, conventional wisdom was that much of their customer-base would flee and shop elsewhere. But what was the decision-making process inside these companies and how did they have the courage to make such moves?

  • Joanne Dwyer, Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, CVS Health
  • Jennifer Moreau, Senior Director of Communications, Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Carrie Kurlander, VP, Communications and Public Affairs, Chick-fil-A (Moderator)

Session Photos


This panel observed Chatham House Rules, which state that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker, nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. The following summary complies with the rules.



Each company on the panel took a risk in asserting values that would not necessarily align with all of their customers and employees.


Common traits included:

  • Leadership on the issue came directly from each of the represented company CEOs, based on their strong, personal convictions, and were not based on profit motives.
  • Each case involved timely social issues with broad implications, plus significant media attention.
  • None of the brands has suffered long-term revenue losses based on the actions taken.


Lessons learned: What actions helped these companies through?

  1. Dialogue with detractors and opponents.
  2. Proactive communication with employees and particularly the supply chain.
  3. Tying the actions to stated values, and taking the time to reaffirm them in this new context while tying them to the business.


In their own words:

“What we didn’t expect was our own customers responding to negative commentary on social media faster than we could get our own engines to respond.“

“What we didn’t expect was all the customers coming in to say ‘thank you’.”

“Two-thirds of consumers say it’s important for companies to take a stand on social issues. Half of consumers worldwide classify themselves as ‘belief-driven buyers.’ Belief-driven buyers mean business.”

More Events

Existential Disruption:
Our Communications Challenges, Our World
2019 Page International Exchange
June 19-21, 2019 • Amsterdam

2019 Page International Exchange

The inaugural Page International Exchange focused on existential disruption and attendees heard from European leaders, CEOs and CCOs on how industry leaders in the region are managing a time of turbulent change in both business and communication. We’ll also discuss how the Page model driving change within organizations, in terms of the role of corporate brand, culture change, digital disruption, and corporate purpose.

Moment of Truth:
Authenticity, Agility & Action
2019 Page Spring Seminar
April 4-5, New York

2019 Page Spring Seminar

This year’s Spring Seminar comes at a moment of truth for the Chief Communications Officer. Following in-depth conversations with more than 100 CCOs from Google and General Motors to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens, Page is preparing its latest research report, which will be previewed at the Spring Seminar.

Purpose, Policy & Protest:
The Role of the Corporation on Social Issues
2018 Page Annual Conference
September 23-25, Washington D.C.

2018 Page Annual Conference

The pressure on companies, and specifically their CEOs and CCOs, to engage with their publics on a range of social issues – from climate change to privacy, from immigration to gun control, from gay rights to racial bias – is more intense than ever. How do you determine if, when and how to engage?

Are You Future-Proofed?
Disruption, Innovation And The CCO
2018 Page Spring Seminar
April 5-6, 2018 Conrad New York

2018 Page Spring Seminar

“When we started to think about the theme for this Spring Seminar, we heard from many of you that we really needed to shake things up and use this time to learn things that might be new to our thinking. Companies have been transformed or disrupted. Many have turned to design thinking to infuse their thinking about the future.

Latest from Page

Deepening Stakeholder Relationships Through CommTech with SocialChorus | Page Patrons

CommTech: Moving Communications to the Center of Company Strategy

Dick’s Sporting Goods Enters the Gun Debate: Revising the Playbook - Winning Case from Page and IPR Case Study Competition

Every year, Page teams up with the Institute for Public Relations to hold a student case study competition and the winners are chosen by a panel of some of the most prolific communicators in the world. This year’s winning case study examined the controversial decision by Dick’s Sporting Goods to discontinue the sale of guns in many of their stores, and the outcomes that followed.