A recent survey found 57% of consumers buy or boycott products based on a brand’s stance on political or social issues.

As companies increasingly enter the political arena through contributions, endorsements and public stances on controversial issues, understanding where customers stand on the ideological spectrum becomes critical.

The reality is 100% of the business outweighs 50% of the vote…and there’s a fine line between bold civic leadership and bad business decisions.

If a brand is unable to accurately identify the values and issues most important to their customers, they run the dangerous risk of choosing politics over profits when they go public on the issues.

At Resonate, our consumer models go beyond static demographic, purchasing, and voter data to reach the heart of what drives decisions and issue-positions. By leveraging mass survey research and automated behavioral intelligence, we update thousands of consumer insights daily, accounting for the smallest sentiment shifts throughout media cycle lifetimes. The result: an always-on understanding of the values, motivations, and issue-positions driving individual consumer choice.

We put our models to the test and analyzed U.S. voters who are consumers of brands that have engaged in political discourse. Specifically, we looked at where these consumers currently stand on the issues relative to the brand’s recent political activity.

*all insights compared to average US voter

Patagonia
Since inception, advocacy has been a part of the Patagonia DNA. The outdoor clothing giant has made considerable strides to connect their customers to environmental politics. These include a million dollar “Vote our Planet” effort in 2016 and a $200,000 donation to an environmental group funded by major Democrat donors.

Resonate insights on Patagonia customers within the last year who are registered voters:

  • 19% believe climate change is a top societal concern
  • 17% more likely to be Democrats
  • 139% more likely to attend a rally or protest because of a societal/political issue
  • 109% more likely to travel further / pay more for a product based on a political or societal issue

NASCAR
NASCAR chairman and CEO, Brian France, endorsed Trump for president last cycle, claiming Trump’s leadership was desperately needed. Roughly 93% of NASCAR’s political donations also went to Republicans running for office in 2016.

Resonate insights on NASCAR fans who are registered voters:

  • 26% more likely to be Republicans
  • 44% more likely to support Donald Trump
  • 17% more likely to be a swing voter, like NASCAR’s CEO, who backed Obama in 2008 and then Romney in 2012

Starbucks
Starbucks is known to confront political and social issues head-on. Starbucks’ former CEO, Howard Scultz, publicly endorsed Clinton last cycle and company 2016 campaign contributions heavily favored Democrats.

Resonate insights on Starbucks customers within the last year who are registered voters:

  • 35% Democrat, 30% Independent, 29% Republican
  • 20% more likely to support increasing the minimum wage
  • 15% more likely to vote based on education policy
  •  38% more likely to buy a product based on the companies’ green behavior

Papa John’s
Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter, publicly advocates limited government and has said government regulations have steered the country in a bad direction. He is also outspoken on his opposition to Obamacare.

Resonate insights on Papa John’s customers within the last year who are registered voters:

  • 86% more likely to believe healthcare issues should be addressed by market forces – not government regulations
  • 16% more likely to oppose increasing the minimum wage
  • 13% more likely to travel further / pay more for a product based on a political or societal issue

When it comes to politics and profits, brands can find success going public on the issues if they can tailor their issue-messaging to the hearts and minds of their customers. By gaining a real-time understanding of the customer’s values and most relevant civic issues, brands can also safeguard against losing business by just assuming the customer aligns with the positions of company leadership.

If you’d like to learn more on how your brand can tailor advocacy and public affairs strategies to the values driving your customer base, contact Resonate today.