Since the election, more and more companies have violated the business norm of remaining apolitical. By using social movements in their marketing campaigns, companies are making political statements to appeal to customers and sell their products.
"Nowadays, brands are a way for us to express our values and commitments," says Jonathan Copulsky, a former chief marketing officer for Deloitte Consulting and author of Brand Resilience. "We don't just choose a brand because of its quality anymore."
But it has to be done with the right touch, or the message will fall flat — or worse.
Fifty-seven percent of consumers will buy or boycott a brand because of its position on an issue, according to Edelman's Earned Brand Study.
That research suggests that half of all consumers worldwide are "belief-driven buyers" who shop with a conscience. About 65 percent of that group won't buy a brand when it stays silent on an issue the consumer feels the brand has an obligation to address.
"The current political atmosphere and system is failing people," says Mark Renshaw, global head of Edelman's brand practice. "People have less of a trust in government, nonprofits, and media. They're turning to brands as another way to navigate change and make them feel like they can make a difference."
In this climate, companies that fail to take a stand risk ending up in "No Brand's Land," Renshaw said. "Brands that live their beliefs in all that they do, and invite consumers to take action with them, will be rewarded with more conversation, more conversion, and ultimately, more commitment."
But it's not an easy path to navigate. When does it work and when does it flop?
Networked Insights, a research firm that uses artificial intelligence and social media to gauge responses, was able to determine the amount of positive and negative reactions recent ads received through online mentions within two weeks of their respective release dates. Here is what the data, along with some experts, had to say: