Marketing Madness

Is Avoiding Politics Hurting Your Brand?

The conventional wisdom for most businesses today is to attempt to avoid weighing in on controversial topics related to politics. Many brands put in a lot of effort to ensure their ads aren’t even displayed near political content on websites. While this makes sense on the surface, the fact is it might actually be a bad thing.

People are more likely than ever to either choose a brand because of their positions, or boycott them for the same. That being said, ‘sitting on the sidelines’ in terms of these issues can actually be more damaging than taking a position.

A recent survey that was conducted by Sprout Social found that 66% of consumers actually want brands to take positions on social and political topics. The survey was taken by 1000 adults in the US, and asked some key questions that may provide some direction for brands on how to navigate these potentially dangerous water.

The survey found that those who were liberal felt it was more important for brands to take a stand on various issues. 36% of liberals said that it was ‘very important’ and another 42% said it was ‘somewhat important’ for brands to take a stand on social and/or political issues. Compare this to 17% and 35% respectively for conservatives.

Liberals are also putting their money where their mouth is, or so it seems. 55% of liberals said that they would purchase more from a brand that agrees with them politically. This is compared to just 39% of conservatives.

Of course, brands will need to weigh the pros and cons, and look at their target audiences. A company that takes a liberal leaning stand may benefit from taking liberal positions on political topics, but if they may be hurt by boycotts or other issues from conservatives.

Companies should look at their target audience and determine where they typically stand politically. The brand can then adopt that stance and likely reap the most benefits. While this may be a fine line to walk, it should certainly be something brand owners consider so they can get the most out of their positions.

The survey can be found HERE.

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Pesach Lattin

Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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