More than Half of Consumers Buy or Boycott a Brand Because of Politics

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Key Takeaways

​What? More than half of all customers will now buy or boycott from a brand based on political issues.

So what? “With all the benefits that belief-driven buyers bring to a brand, the question brands need to ask themselves isn’t whether or not to answer their call,” the report says.

Now what? Determine if your brand has an obligation to adress an issue. Millennials are the most likely to buy based on belief, so consider if your stance aligns with millennial beliefs.

​Oct. 12, 2017

More than half of consumers will buy or boycott a brand based on a political statement. Another 65% say they won’t buy from a brand if it stays silent on an important issue. It’s a branding catch-22, something Edelman calls “no brand’s land.”

More than half of consumers—57%—say they buy or boycott brands based on the brand’s stance on a social or political issue, according to the 2017 Edelman Earned Brand report.

“Ideology dominates the cultural conversation,” the report says. “Around the globe, consumers are putting their personal convictions front and center. From the grocery aisle to the car dealership, they’re buying on belief. Willing or not, brands of all kinds and sizes are now navigating this new reality. And in a lightning-quick digital world, the rewards and risks are equally high.”

Additionally, 65% of “belief-driven” buyers will not buy a brand if it stays silent on an issue they feel that it has an obligation to formally address. Edelman says this puts brands that ignore issues at risk of landing in “no brand’s land, a danger zone where people are more likely to become indifferent to a brand.”

The brand report foun​d:

  • ​60% of millennials are belief-driven buyers, compared with 53% of Generation Z and 51% of Generation X.

  • 50% of all buyers now buy based on belief.

  • ​Belief-driven buyers are more influential outside of the U.S., as 73% of China and 65% of India are belief-driven buyers.

Those brands who get their relationship right with belief-driven buyers may see a big reward, as Edelman says these consumers will pay a 25% premium for a brand that supports their position. Forty-eight percent of those polled say they will advocate for a brand that supports their position, and 67% will buy for the first time based on a brand’s opinion on a controversial topic.

“With all the benefits that belief-driven buyers bring to a brand, the question brands need to ask themselves isn’t whether or not to answer their call,” the Edelman report says. “It's when and how they will.”

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