About 82 percent of consumers who call themselves liberal find it credible when brands take political stands, and 78 percent of them want the marketers to do so. Far fewer conservatives want the same. These recent research findings fly in the face of common wisdom, that marketers who take political stands will see sales plummet.
This, from Sprout Social’s “Championing Change in the Age of Social Media” report, released on Tuesday, is far different from research Target Marketing summarized in a June 2017 article that stated: “58 percent of consumers surveyed said they dislike it when marketers talk politics.” (The full article, titled “Trump Boycotts Turn 25% of Consumers Off,” gets into how 80 million Americans say they change their spending habits due to these boycotts. But marketers can benefit, if the political stands they take align with their brands’ DNA.)
Meanwhile in Tuesday’s announcement, Andrew Caravella, VP of Strategy and Brand Engagement at Sprout Social, says taking a stand helps brands:
“People want to feel socially and politically connected to the brands they support — and while vocalizing opinions may drive away some customers, it will ultimately engender greater loyalty and enthusiasm from people who agree.”
Here are more findings from Sprout Social’s research:
Brands Face More Reward Than Risk
If consumers agree with a brand’s political stance, they’ll say so publicly 28 percent of the time, Sprout Social says. Conversely, 20 percent who disagree will say so.
Sprout Social’s announcement also states:
Consumers’ most common emotional reactions to brands taking a stand on social were positive, with “intrigued,” “impressed” and “engaged” emerging as the top three consumer reactions.
Liberals Are Galvanized by Brands That Take Stands
About 78 percent of self-described liberals expect brands to take political stands, “while conservatives are indifferent” with 52 percent wanting marketers to support their politics.
Sprout Social further finds:
Likewise, 82 percent of liberals feel brands are credible when taking stands, compared to just 46 percent of conservatives.
Brands Can’t Change Minds, But They Can Effect Change
It’s basically show, don’t tell, marketers. Sprout Social states: “66 percent of respondents say posts from brands rarely or never influence their opinions on social issues. Rather, respondents believe brands are more effective on social media when they announce donations to specific causes (39 percent) and encourage followers to take specific steps to support causes (37 percent), such as participating in events or making their own donations.”
Speak Up, CEO — Consumers Want to Hear From You
Sprout Social says: “Although respondents are almost twice as likely to say they’d rather hear about social and political issues from a company than a CEO on social media (22 percent vs. 13 percent, respectively), people still feel C-suite members have a duty to speak up. And they especially want CEOs to use their voices — 59 percent of respondents say it’s important for CEOs to engage with consumers and followers on social and political issues on social media.”
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Trump Boycotts Turn 25% of Consumers Off