business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that a new study from PR company Edelman suggests that “people around the world are increasingly taking into account what brands stand for when they buy a product,” and that “almost 40% of people surveyed said they bought a product for the first time for the sole reason that they appreciated the brand’s position on a controversial societal or political issue.”

Indeed, the negative impact of having the “wrong” opinion on an issue is even greater: “About 64% of people polled chose to switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on social or political issues.”

The story notes that to a great extent, this trend is being driven by “younger generations that expect brands to make a difference in society and take a stand on important issues.” And many brands have responded. Companies such as Nike, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Audi and Levi Strauss have all taken political and cultural positions that their leadership knew had the potential to create controversy.
KC's View:
I’m not surprised that young people believe that brands can make a difference in society and should take a stand on important issues. They are getting a pretty good education in how some public officials seem incapable of doing either, except in the pursuit of political power.