Brands and politics

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd November 2016

A report entitled “The Political Consumer” released today by J Walter Thompson Intelligence’s Innovation Group examines the growing politicisation of our lives and how brands are managing this new challenge.

Due to the US Presidential election campaign and the Brexit vote in Britain, 2016 has been a noisy year but these issues have end points.

The issues which divide society more profoundly have no foreseeable conclusion:

  • Women’s rights
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Sustainability
  • Immigration
  • Terrorism
  • Racism

Because public awareness of corporate stances on political events and issues has reached an all-time high, almost twice the level in 2014, these issues are now beginning to affect brands which used to be able to remain at a safe distance from political issues.

The role of social media in this heightened awareness is undeniable allowing everyone unprecedented close engagement with celebrities, public figures another users of social media.

Brands stand to gain a great deal from effectively engaging with the political consumer but must take care of the manner in which they engage with issues – a naked or grubby grab for market share will be rebuffed by a public that seeks authenticity.

Fully 60 per cent of the public says that they generally trust political content from brands on social media, whereas only 45 per cent trust online political content from celebrities and even fewer, 41 per cent, trust online political comment from politicians.

A surprisingly large proportion, 39 per cent, of millennials say brands should play a larger role in politics and 51 per cent say they appreciate when brands take a political stance in their advertising.