The Risks of Taking a Political Stance

Black Rifle Coffee (founded by US Army Special Forces veteran Evan Hofer) has pledged to hire 10,000 vets.

According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, 73% of Millennials believe that companies and brands should exert a positive impact on society and communities. The secret to attracting Millennials, is therefore to associate your brand with a cause. United Colours of Benetton has taken a clear stance against violence on women with its “United by half” campaign, using this theme throughout its social media channels.

Companies should however be very careful when taking a political stance. Starbucks has pledged to hire 10,000 refugees over the next 5 years and “build bridges, not walls, with Mexico”. However, according to YouGov BrandIndex, following this announcement the company’s consumer perception levels have fallen by two-thirds since late January 2017. Starbucks’ perception is still overall positive, but significantly lower than it was before CEO Howard Schultz published a public letter outlining the company’s plans to give refugees jobs. Two days before Starbucks’ controversial announcement, 30% of consumers said they’d consider buying from Starbucks the next time they were craving coffee, the highest proportion in nearly a year. Currently, that percentage is down to 24%, according to data published by YouGov.

On the other hand, Black Rifle Coffee (founded by US Army Special Forces veteran Evan Hofer) which has pledged to hire 10,000 vets, experienced a spike in sales. “We hold true to our values as conservative, pro-military, pro-law enforcement, and pro-2nd Amendment American citizens and never waiver those values in order to simply make the maximum amount of profit,” announced executive vice president and CEO Scott Bollinger.

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