How Consumers Feel About Brands Expressing Opinions on Social Issues

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With many Americans polarized around social and political issues, it has become more important for brands that decide to take a stand to have some understanding of the risks that are associated with their decisions. With this in mind, research firm YouGov reviewed its data to compare the point of views of consumers from the U.S. and Britain. The objective was to explore whether consumers think it’s appropriate for brands to comment on social issues and to what extent this would depend on the industry. More than half (52 percent) of people in Britain think that brands should be able to express how they feel on a certain topic, compared with 61 percent of those from the U.S. “What’s more, just under half (48 percent) of Americans say they like brands that are willing to get involved in social issues and 42 percent of Brits say the same,” YouGov reported. Read the YouGov report here.

In addition, about six in 10 (59 percent) people in both countries don’t think brands should express views on social or political issues, but often this depends on the industry and the issue. “This indicates that it’s up to the brand itself to weigh up the risk versus the reward and understand what causes will resonate with their own audience and what will put them off,” the report said. Among the findings of the research, the biggest difference is in how much of a responsibility people think brands have to society. “This is much more of a big deal in Britain with 54 percent giving this as a reason compared with 41 percent of people in the U.S.,” the report found.

Across various industry sectors, people believe it’s most important for charities to have a point of view (63 percent of U.S. consumers consider it “very important”), followed by pharmaceutical (54 percent in the U.S. consider it “very important”) and media companies (55 percent of U.S. consumers consider it “very important”). “Overall, for every industry asked about, more people from the U.S. think it’s important for brands to have a point of view than their counterparts in Britain,” the report noted.