The controversial New York Times op-ed from U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for a military response to protests across the nation sparked by the murder of George Floyd, is creating plenty of debate about what is appropriate for…
Brands are standing against racial inequality
Many notable brands have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial inequality. The pressure that companies feel to speak out on these important issues has greatly increased. As such, some of the biggest companies are quickly reacting on the protests, forcing others in the market-place to do the same.
Eunkyu Lee is Associate Dean for Global Initiatives and Professor of Marketing at the Whitman School. His teaching interests include marketing management, distribution channel management, and marketing strategy. He offers his take below.
“Although the current situation has made such moves more noticeable and pronounced, the phenomenon of ‘brand activism’ is not new, as it’s been steadily increasing in the recent years, not only on ‘safer and universally acceptable’ issues but, also on hot-button issues that may provoke both strongly positive and negative reactions.
For instance, the September-2018 Nike Just-do-it campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick was not universally praised and attracted a lot of criticism and anger. Research shows the overall brand’s favorability among Americans went down, while it also energized the loyalty among its key target segments. Some marketers have begun to realize the potentially positive impact of taking a stance on controversial issues and receiving more ‘hate’ from some.”