A new US study by the advertising trade association 4A’s found that that while a lot of brands are interested in promoting social or political issues, consumers actually find the idea a turn-off.
According to the study – that obviously reflects the US advertising market – 67 per cent of agencies surveyed for the study believed that values-based marketing was becoming increasingly important. However, respondents agreed that it was easier to take a social stance over a political one.
In contrast to that, 4A’s found that 58 per cent of actual consumers dislike it when brands are overly political. Further, consumers are more likely to avoid brands that take a negative position (ie. those that are perceived to be racist, anti-LGBTQ or sexist) than to support those that take a positive position (ie. those that are perceived to be inclusive, pro-LGBTQ or feminist).
The study also found since Trump’s election late last year, 57 per cent cited that understanding the demographics and values of a brand’s customers is more important than ever. Other findings included:
- 34 per cent of respondents have counselled or required that more diverse perspectives were needed in creative or planning
- 30 per cent of respondents have counselled clients to avoid engaging with controversial sociopolitical issues
- 25 per cent of respondents havecounselled clients to align with sociopolitical issues authentic to the brand
- 24 per cent of respondents have considered sociopolitical issues in media buys
When it comes to political endorsements of brands, more than half of US consumers (51 per cent) reported that Trump’s policies have made companies and brands more vocal and inclined to take action; however, his endorsements are not impacting their purchasing decisions.
When the President gives a product a positive endorsement, almost a quarter of consumers (22 per cent) say they are less likely to purchase the product.
Regardless of whether Trumps tweeted a positive or negative endorsement, about three-quarters (74 per cent) said it had no impact on their purchasing decisions.
Commenting on the findings, 4A’s CMO Alison Fahey said: “Consumers are not looking to brands to take a position on political or social issues. In fact, there’s typically more risk than benefit.
“Brands taking a negative approach risk backlash, and only a small percentage of consumers are moved to buy from positive messaging.”