Over the last few months, the United States has been buffeted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as by protests/counter-protests about long-seated civil issues. From a company perspective, this means navigating a difficult marketplace. And tempers have flared up in the face of incorrect, inflammatory “news” reports.
Company Decision-Making in Navigating a Difficult Marketplace
Felix Richter, for Statista, offers excellent insights on the topic. According to Richter:
Mass protests erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death [and others] across the United States. And they continue. As a result, companies and brands face this difficult dilemma — how to address this highly sensitive issue. Should they speak out. With the potential risk of striking the wrong tone? Or should they stay silent. Thus, risking their being seen as indifferent, cowardly, or even worse, complicit.
Regardless of the decision, any statement on the protests and the underlying issues of race, inequality, and police violence will alienate a significant number of people. However, silence may offer the worst option. Because people value brands not afraid to take a stand. That represents one key takeaway from a Morning Consult poll. With the other that action speaks louder than words.
When asked about which actions would make them see brands more or less favorably in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, these choices were among the most universally approved courses of action. Setting up a fund for small business impacted by looting. Donating to community cleanup. And donating to social justice causes. Making a statement supporting police AND protesters (however that might work) seemed a good option by many. While voicing support for either side split the respondents in half. But while taking a stand might be divisive, the survey shows that staying silent may not be a real option for brands.