It’s 2018 and, even though its early in the year, people are already starting to talk about what November will hold for the mid-term Congressional elections. While outcomes could significantly affect our environment, healthcare and many more important points, elections and politics also influence shopping behavior. Shoppers have seen their boycotts and social media activism change the way brands are operating. They are becoming aware of their power, and that should put all brands on notice.
Multiple studies last year unveiled some specifics surrounding this behavior. Just a couple of examples include an Ipsos study, which showed that 25% of Americans stopped using a brand’s goods or services based on perceived political leanings. A multi-country study by Edelman found that 57% of global consumers buy or boycott products because of a brand’s stance on political or social issues. These are substantial chunks of the population, and brands need to address these issues head-on, or be forced to give a concession speech.
As people begin to recognize the power of spending on national discourse and policy, this behavior promises to increase, especially in light of the coming election. The unprecedented protests in January 2017 were matched, and some areas surpassed, in 2018. Politics is not retreating from the public consciousness. Stakes have never been higher, politics will take center stage from a distraction standpoint, and this will surely impact economics in the form of retail spending.
Brands have to be very aware of who their audience is and how their political views or lack of views will impact their customers. Putting a plan in place to help proactively combat loss due to boycotts can help avoid a disaster: