Should a brand get political? Let’s discuss.
Four years ago, the answer would have been a resounding NO. The question itself would have been met with responses such as ‘That’s one way to ruin a brand’ or ‘Brands and politics don’t mix’. Today however, it’s a different story. People are increasingly considering what brands stand for when they make the decision to buy a product.
“Almost 40% of people surveyed said they bought a product for the first time for the sole reason that they appreciated the brand’s position on a controversial societal or political issue” – 2018 Edelman Earned Brand survey
It is more important than ever to stand up for what you believe in and consumers agree. 64% of respondents in the Edelman survey say they prefer brands that chose to take a stand on political issues. This change in attitude can be attributed to many things, movements such as Me Too and Black Lives Matter, along with global warming, growing global tensions and the rise of Gen Z just to name a few, all these things and more are having a big impact on the way brands approach their marketing endeavours and whether or not they decide that politics should play a part.
3 brands that aren’t afraid to get political:
- This is a brand that has a long history of environmental conservation efforts and this past year they have upped the ante, donating their 10 Million Dollar Donald Trump tax cut to environmental conservation groups worldwide, while at the same time publicly slamming what they call an irresponsible decision on the part of the United States President.
- They endorsed two democratic senate candidates in the 2018 United States midterm elections.
- Result: The company’s revenue has quadrupled over the last 10 years.
- Featured Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign.
- Nike faced major online backlash from Kaepernick critics while at the same time receiving a new wave of support from people worldwide, who respect the former NFL players decision to kneel during the national anthem in what was intended to be a peaceful protest of police brutality against people of colour in the United States.
- Result: Stock surged by 5% in the week following the advertisement and Nike is now the preferred apparel brand for Gen Z members and millennials.
- Advocate for refugee rights.
- Faced right wing boycott in 2016 for hiring hundreds of refugees.
- Result: Chobani Is today the world’s largest yogurt manufacturer with its annual revenue topping $1 billion.
These powerhouse brands aren’t the only ones taking a stand against injustice, more and more companies big and small are weighing in on issues they believe to be important. With that said, brands do need to consider the risks involved in taking a stand before they choose to do so. Every move needs to be authentic or consumers will see right through it and drag you through the mud as a result, we all know what happened with that Pepsi Ad back in 2017 when the company trivialised a social movement to sell its product. Getting your brand involved in politics most likely means losing a fair few customers, however it also means strengthening loyalty and connection with the very large number of people who agree with you and choose to stay.