Most brands avoid controversy like the plague. If there’s a powerfully divisive issue in the industry, or in mainstream culture, they’ll work actively to ensure nobody knows which side they’re on, and to be safe they’ll probably avoid mentioning the issue altogether.

Because making a claim or stating an opinion can alienate a portion of your audience, staying on the fence or avoiding issues seems like the wiser, safer play. However, choosing a stance and sticking by it can actually have far greater benefits.

It Shows Your Conviction

First, remember that expressing a strong opinion is a sign of conviction. It doesn’t really matter what side you land on; simply choosing an opinion shows that your brand is committed to what it believes in. Regardless of how your audience feels about the issue, it demonstrates you as more loyal and, by extension, more trustworthy.

Brands that never pick a side or avoid talking about sensitive issues sometimes appear to be hiding something, or appear bland and overly conservative. You’re offering transparency and a glimpse into the values of your brand—which gives you a level of integrity that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Your Argument Can Illustrate Your Authority

Depending on how you choose to introduce and/or defend your position, expressing a strong opinion can be a good chance to illustrate your knowledge of the subject and your status as an authority in the industry.

For example, if there’s a new legal development that’s complicating how your industry is operating, you can write a blog post that fully dissects the ramifications of the law to the common man. It will show that you do your research and, even if your customers disagree with you, they’ll see your brand is well-read and established as an authority.

You’ll Deepen Your Relationships

There are obviously a few downsides to picking a strong side in a controversial issue, and one of the biggest is that you’ll turn some of your customers away. No matter how you frame your opinion, at least a handful of audience members will strongly disagree with you to the point that they abandon your brand entirely.

The flip side is that the customers who do remain are going to feel even stronger about your brand. For example, if you started with 100 lukewarm customers and you take a strong side, 20 might leave, but 60 might remain lukewarm and another 20 will feel even more enthusiastic about your brand. It’s like cutting out the dead weight and enhancing the good relationships you already have.

Don’t forget that controversial topics are controversial because they’re popular. People see them and research them all the time, and recent developments are likely to turn into trending topics on social platforms. Watch for news as it rolls out, and try to capitalize on recent events during the peak of their popularity. You’ll quickly gain more visibility for your brand.

You’ll Generate Discussion

Finally, controversial subjects tend to generate discussions, which are imperative if you want to build a social community around your brand. State an opinion on your Facebook page, for example, and you’ll end up attracting dozens of comments from your most passionate followers. It will get your audience involved, draw more attention to your brand and help people feel more invested in your brand by the end of it.

A Note on Appropriateness

It’s highly likely that taking a strong stance on an issue will generate more buzz and more loyalty for your brand, but keep in mind that not all issues are alike. There are certain issues where taking a stance is inappropriate, and you need to know the distinguishing factors that separate these types of issues.

As a general rule, avoid taking sides in long-standing political issues; coming out randomly in support of the death penalty probably won’t do much for your popularity. However, local or less intensely debated political issues could feasibly be acceptable. For example, you could come out in support of a new traffic light or speak out against a new pedestrian law.

For the most part, the issues you take a stance on should affect your business in one way or another. They don’t have to be industry-specific, as long as they have some bearing on the way you choose to do business. Otherwise, your strong opinion will seem less relevant to people, and you could end up losing more audience members than you gain.

If you’re one of those brands that refuse to take a stance on anything even remotely controversial, you might want to rethink your approach. Simply choosing a side and explaining your position can amplify your brand’s power—even if a handful of fans get riled in the process.