After the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, brands are facing a choice they've confronted repeatedly over the last year: Speak out or stay silent.
Several companies and agencies told Ad Age they would pause marketing efforts and social media activity. Ben & Jerry’s called for President Trump’s impeachment. And brands including Coca-Cola, Chevron, Seventh Generation and Axe made statements as company CEOs spoke out and social media platforms banned Trump. On Friday, Reddit banned the subreddit r/DonaldTrump.
As brands contemplate whether they should take a public stand, a new study from data intelligence company Morning Consult and publication Politico has found that consumers—both Democrat and Republican—are more likely to approve of statements and stances from companies that denounce those who were involved in the assault.
Half of nearly 2,000 registered voters surveyed on January 6 and 7 say they have a more favorable view of companies that condemn the riot. Of those, 40% described themselves as Democrats and 34% as Republican. Conversely, only 13% of respondents (9% Democrat and 16% Republican) feel less favorably towards brands that do speak out—a finding that led Morning Consult to encourage brands to take a stand.
“Business leaders would be wise to speak out against Wednesday’s events: Not doing so could impact their company’s reputation,” writes Victoria Sakal, managing director of brand intelligence for Morning Consult in a blog post about the study.
The study also found that 43% of consumers would purchase more from a brand that takes a stance than from those that don't; 25% say a company's stance would have no impact on their purchasing habits.