Shareholders get justifiably nervous when a company takes a stand on a divisive social issue. But when the right brand sends the right message, the results can be good for sales and stocks alike.

YOU DON’T HAVE to watch Gillette’s recent commercial for long to realize it’s no typical shaving ad. There are no shots of blades gliding through lather or water splashing on a freshly trimmed face. Instead, the ad shows men standing up to bullies and sexual harassers, all part of a message about resisting “toxic masculinity.”

It’s more social plea than sales pitch—and

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