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Brand Politics or Values?

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

In an election year, many brands try to remain neutral so as not to rock the boat with their shoppers or alienate retailers. But this year appears to be anything but typical, and trends in recent years toward glass-box brands and authenticity are prompting brands to be more vocal about political issues today more than ever. But is it really political, or is it just how modern brands are connecting with today’s shoppers—through shared values?

For example, Patagonia is placing tags in its latest line of women’s and men’s shorts, reading “Vote the assholes out” in block lettering. While it is a statement against climate deniers, it is also singularly aligned with the brand’s ethos and shopper values.

While Patagonia is focused on its brand purpose and a singular dimension of the election season, many brands and retailers are thinking bigger—supporting their shopper base by focusing on the vote using their platforms as a vehicle for action.

  • Foot Locker is transforming more than 2,000 of its retail stores across the U.S. into voter registration sites to get young voters prepared to vote.
  • ViacomCBS and the Ad Council (which includes younger leaning channels like MTV, Comedy Central, Vh1, CMT, Logo, PopTV, TV Land, Paramount Network, and Smithsonian Channel) created a non partisan campaign called “Vote For Your Life”, which encourages voters to request their ballots and vote early with TV, digital and social messages.
  • LiveNation has partnered up with LeBron James’ More Than a Vote initiative to help provide more polling stations by offering some of their venues.

While getting out the vote is non-partisan, some may consider these vote campaigns anything but neutral. But biased or not, these retailer and brands are thinking shopper first, and finding ways to not just connect but also support their consumers in more ways than one. In a world where consumer expect action, brands must step up and join the conversation however controversial.

Contributed By: Kira Walstrom, Insight & Strategy, Denver

Image Source: Unsplash

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