New Survey Reveals 73% of Americans Would Take Action Against a Company That Holds an Opposing Political Position

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New York, Dec. 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New York based communications firm Group Gordon (GG) released today The Business of Political Engagement, a surprising study of political engagement in corporate America. GG partnered with Wakefield Research to contrast the views of 1,000 U.S. adults to those of 300 executives in marketing, PR, and communications on how companies should weigh in on political and social issues. 

The report found that opinions on the nature and consequences of political engagement vary between consumers and executives as well as by party affiliation, age, and gender. While 67% of Americans see a place for businesses to speak out on political topics, the survey found that:

  • 64% of Americans believe it is important that their favorite brands’ political views align with their own.
  • 73% of Americans report they would take some type of action against a company that takes a political position they do not agree with.
  • 44% of Americans would stop doing business with a company that takes a political position they disagree with.
    • Business decision makers (BDM) underestimate the actions people would take, with only 34% thinking consumers would stop doing business with them over differing political views.
  • 20% of Americans reported they would leave their company if it took a political stance they disagreed with.

“The expectation that brands stay out of political conversations is officially dead. Our research shows that what used to be taboo can now be an important differentiating factor for consumers. How businesses engage with social issues has significant consequences not only for the public’s perception of their brands but also for their bottom lines,” said Michael Gordon, principal and chief executive of Group Gordon.

Additional key findings from the study include:

  • 76% of Americans believe that the CEO and executives’ political stances reflect the company’s opinions and values.
  • 69% of Americans and 56% of BDM believe businesses have become more politically engaged since the 2016 elections.
  • 77% of Americans believe companies should only speak out on political or social issues that directly relate to their services or product.
  • The top five topics Americans want corporate America to speak out about are: Environment/Climate Change (35%); Gender Equality (33%); Tax Policy (31%); Education policy (31%); and Gun Control (27%). Democrats are more likely than Republicans to think brands should speak out those topics.
  • Men (72%) are more likely than women (62%) to find it acceptable for brands to speak out on political and social issues; millennials (75%) are far more likely than their Boomer counterparts to agree (56%).
  • The business community is aligned with the American public (64%), with 70% of BDM believing it is acceptable for companies to speak out on political issues.

“There’s no easy answer for brands when it comes to political engagement,” added Group Gordon President Jeremy Robinson-Leon. “The data shows that in the current climate businesses can’t please everyone whether they make statements on political or social issues or, in contrast, attempt to stay neutral. But by being authentic to their brand voice, thoughtfully engaging on issues that align with the company’s services and mission, and focusing on the audience segments that matter most for their success, businesses can mitigate the risks and be responsive to what consumers expect from them.”

A full copy of the survey report can be downloaded here.

About Group Gordon

Group Gordon is a strategic communications firm that develops and executes smart strategies to elevate its clients. With offices in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, Group Gordon works across multiple industries, including finance, law, real estate, tech, professional services, public affairs, and nonprofit. We assist clients with strategic planning, media relations, branding, crisis management, media training, and social media tactics. The diversity of our experience and focus on clients' business goals produce inspired solutions to the toughest challenges. For more information, visit www.groupgordon.com.

About the Study

The Group Gordon Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults, ages 18+, and 300 US business decision-makers (BDM) in marketing, PR, and communications, with a minimum title requirement of Director, excluding BDMs from agencies/firms, between September 28th and October 9th, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18 and older.

Elizabeth Gemdjian 
212.784.5722
egemdjian@groupgordon.com 

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