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Do Our Brands Reflect Our Politics?

By Emma Boland, Account Coordinator, Spring 2020

In a consumer’s world, full of white noise and far too many options, brand activism has become the way to stand out. You’re probably familiar with this trend, but why is it skyrocketing in popularity in the last decade? Two factors contribute to the phenomenon: the overpopulated marketplace and the rise in advocacy in the public sphere. 

  1. As a consumer, there is hardly a way to meaningfully choose from the huge array of products that are available. Several brands focus on style, several focus on practicality, several focus on quick shipping, the list goes on. So, how is the consumer to choose? Maybe they will choose the first that comes up on their Google browser. Or maybe, because activism is on their mind, they will consider the brand’s activism. 

  2. New media pushes people to reflect on their personal values more often because everyone else’s values are being thrown in their face every time they log on to social apps. In parallel, radical politics are surging, especially now in preparation for the 2020 Presidential Elections and in the aftermath of environmental crises. If done successfully, when brands publicly align themselves with a purpose valued by their target audience, it gives them more credibility.

So what should we make of this?

As a consumer, there is nothing wrong with choosing a brand based on the values it emanates. Just evaluate what they are actively doing for the cause. As a brand, why not try to make positive change in the world while reaping the benefits? Just try to follow through with what you preach. There is no doubt that we need more honesty and transparency in this world. In a world full of options, let values be the deciding factor. Moving forward, brands without a cause will lose purpose and credibility from the eyes of the consumer. 

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