Doing Business in an Activist World

Our 6th Annual Business & Politics study, released today, finds that Americans have an out-sized appetite to take action on issues and drive change. In fact, 84 percent say “Everyday Americans” have a responsibility to bring about change (up from 78 percent in 2016). What’s more, they expect companies to do the same. This year’s study provides insights and tips for navigating this new activist environment.

Some highlights from the report:

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Consumers continue to believe companies should take action on political and social issues (79 percent) and that businesses have the power to influence change (87 percent). There is reward for companies that take action on issues, and a penalty for those that do nothing.

Do your homework. Companies need to understand their customers’ and employees’ politics and ideology in order to connect with them. One third of Americans say they have boycotted a company to protest an action or position. Make sure your actions will resonate with the people closest to your business and your product before diving in.

Do start now. 92 percent of Americans say companies should take positions on issues that align with their corporate values and/or mission. 71 percent of Americans said they would be more likely to support a company’s position if they knew the company had put a lot of thought into its decision. Weighing in without the proper preparation can have unintended consequences; start now to communicate your corporate values and make sure your stakeholders understand your motivations.

We would love to share our findings in further detail with you and your colleagues. Please let us know if you are interested in this opportunity.

Read the full report here.