Call Out Culture: Brands and Politics Collide in 2020

This year promises to be the most overt example yet of the intersection of business and politics. As we near the start of the Democratic primary season, brands have been thrust into the spotlight like never before. Companies have been called out by candidates for not doing enough to address societal problems and have been used to demonstrate what’s wrong with our economy.

As we continue to advise our clients in this rapidly evolving landscape, GSG’s 2020 Annual Business & Politics research will include two major studies this year, in additional to monthly updates. Here are the highlights from our first report:

Understand the motivation for the conversation
Candidates understand that taking on big corporations can be an effective strategy to underscore their democratic credentials. 34% of Democratic Primary voters say they have boycotted a company because of a stance it took. And when Democratic candidates publicly take on brands, brand favorability is negatively impacted.

Profits, partnership, and purpose go together
While Americans do believe that corporations can be good for the economy and for society, they want brands to show true impact, not just lip service. In times of political gridlock, 90% believe that companies and politicians need to work together to do what’s best for American people.

Stand up and speak out
84% of Americans believe it is appropriate to take a stance on a political issue that impacts their company. Americans tolerate and even embrace corporate engagement on a host of issues as long as companies communicate what they are doing and why.

Your employees matter…a lot.
6 in 10 of Americans say they talk about politics at work. 84% say it’s important to them to work for a company that shares their values. While conventional wisdom says don’t talk about politics at work – that’s just not what is happening in today’s companies. Company leaders need to understand that new reality and communicate their values clearly.

Read the full report.