“New Study Reveals Socially Conscious Brands Have An Edge With Consumers” reads the headline from social media management vendor Sprout Social. That’s odd, because we're previously reported other studies like this one from Bambu that found the opposite. Indeed, Sprout’s own results are more mixed than their headline suggests. Sprout highlights that more people will praise a company they agree with (28%) than criticize one they disagree with (20%). But they don’t mention that more people reduce purchases when they disagree with a company (53%) than increase purchases when they agree (44%). Liberals are more likely than conservatives to want brands to take a stand and to take positive or negative action as a result. So taking a liberal position is safer.
And again: this study by retail behavior tracking vendor Euclid found that brands taking policy positions is clearly a bad idea. Seventy-eight percent of consumers said companies should avoid public statements that take a political stance, while just 22% felt companies have an obligation to do so. Just 16% said they buy from a company regardless of what it says or does. The study also looks at other factors related to store purchases.
So if brands shouldn’t take policy positions, how about hiring influencers who probably have strong opinions of their own? Well, there’s certainly the risk of an influencer going off the rails but most followers presumably agree with them. This Nielsen study doesn’t address risk but did find that influencer marketing is better than TV commercials at generating engagement and improving brand metrics. TV is still best at building awareness.
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