Brand Activism

With the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, brands have taken to social media to show their solidarity and support for the black community. Straddling the fine line between performative activism and meaningful action has been a delicate balancing act for many brands, especially those forced to address instances of racism and injustice within their own organizations. In general, the role of “purpose-driven” marketing and social responsibility has emerged as a matter of consideration for brands and consumers alike during this time.

While the sheer volume of brands participating in this movement may imply a certain set of consumer expectations around brand activism, we asked the Fluent audience whether they pay attention to the causes a brand supports, and if a brand’s response to current events impacts their purchase decisions. We also explore the types of brand activism consumers value most, as well as more general preferences when it comes to receiving communications from brands online. 

June 9, 2020

Attitudes Toward Brand Activism

Do you pay attention to which causes a brand supports?

29% of Americans pay attention to the causes a brand supports.

29% of Americans pay attention to the causes a brand supports

While Gen X is the least likely to pay attention to the causes a brand supports, Gen Z and The Silent Generation are the most likely to be tuned in to a brand's social good efforts.

Bar chart comparing if different generations pay attention to causes supported by brands

Does a brand’s response to current events impact whether or not you purchase from them?

22% of Americans say that a brand’s response to current events impacts their shopping behavior.

22% of Americans say that a brand’s response to current events impacts their shopping behavior. 

Compared to other age groups, Gen Xers are the least likely to change their shopping behavior based on a brand's response to current events. Gen Z and the Silent Generation are most likely to adjust their shopping habits.

Bar chart comparing different generations likelihood to change shopping behaviour based on how brands respond to current events

A brand’s response to current events is most likely to impact the shopping behavior of Republicans.

Circle graphs comparing if shoppers are likely to change shopping behaviour based on a brands response to current events by political beliefs

What type of actions should brands take in response to current events?

From changing policies within the organization to pledging monetary donations to relevant causes, 37% of Americans expect brands to take some type of action in response to current events.

Circle graph showing what type of action in response to current events is best from brands

Democrats are most likely to expect brands to take action, favoring messaging on social media and policy change. For both Independents and Republicans, the value of volunteer efforts outweighs policy changes within an organization.

Bar graphs comparing what actions brands should take to current events by political beliefs

Compared to other age groups, Gen Zers have the highest expectations when it comes to corporate social responsibility, with 50% expecting action in response to current events. Gen Z is most interested in seeing brand messages on social media, followed by donations (13%) and volunteer efforts (11%). Baby boomers are most likely to value policy changes within an organization.

Bar graph comparing how different generations expect to see brands take action in response to current events

Preferred Channels for Brand Communications

How do you feel about direct communications from brands online?

18% of Americans feel that direct communications from brands are convenient, while 12% find them intrusive. A majority of Americans surveyed don't feel strongly either way.

70% of respondents report feeling neutral to direct communication from brands online
18% of respondents find direct communication from brands online convenient
18% of respondents find direct communication from brands online intrusive

Gen Zers are most likely to find communications from brands convenient, while The Silent Generation is more likely to find this messaging intrusive. Generation Xers are the least likely to find brand communications intrusive.

Bar graph comparing how different generations feel about direct communication from brands

Compared to their female counterparts, men are more likely to find direct communications from brands intrusive.

Bar graph comparing how females vs males feel about direct communication from brands

Which type of communication would be most likely to encourage you to purchase from a brand?

46% of American say a positive in-store experience is most likely to encourage them to purchase from a brand, followed by communications via social media (23%) and email (22%).

Circle graph comparing what type of communication is most likely to encourage a repeate purchase from a brand

Gen Zers and millennials are most likely to base their purchase decisions on social media. Email ranks second in influence among Gen Z (25%) while in-store experiences nearly tie with social media among millennials (33%). Baby boomers, Gen X, and The Silent Generation are most likely to be swayed by in-store experiences.

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FAQs

How is this data collected?

‘Fluent Pulse’ reflects a daily online survey collected across Fluent’s portfolio of owned & operated websites.

Who is the audience?

Fluent attracts a massive audience across its network of owned media properties. While all segments of the US population are represented, the below are our most prevalent demographic skews:

Demographic Attribute Over Penetrated Among
Age Median: 38

61% between the age of 18 & 44

Gender 50/50 Male/Female
Education High School Degree or Some College
Homeownership 61% Renters
Households with Children 42% of Audience

How many people were surveyed?

On average, 150,000 – 175,000 consumers respond daily.

Is the data weighted?

No, but representative of the overall Fluent Audience.

How do you protect consumers data privacy?

All responses related to this survey are anonymized; only survey responses will be disclosed. At no point will consumer’s personal information will ever be disclosed.

What was your methodology?

Data was collected from US adults between March 10 & April 26, 2020 via Fluent’s portfolio of owned and operated media properties. Results are specific to the Fluent audience, and not reflective of the general US population.

The data presented on this site does not reflect the official opinion, policy or position of Fluent, Inc. This research is only meant to inform and illustrate, as an example, the rich data assets Fluent can derive insights from to drive in-market strategies.