In the current media landscape, wading into the public discourse on controversial world political issues might also entail global repercussions. In recent news, NBA Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey, posted a Tweet in support of the protesters in Hong Kong. In response, Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV and Tencent Holdings announced they would stop broadcasting the Rockets’ games. The team lost several other relationships with their Chinese partners. Morey, the Rockets, the NBA, and other brands in the basketball universe find themselves figuring out what to do next.
Many U.S. brands display political and social consciousness, potentially in response to consumers who might feel more loyalty to brands who share their values. This recent controversy faced by the NBA provides an opportunity to examine how companies navigate conducting business and managing their brands when cultural values or political directions beseech them to weigh in.
By Scott Talan and Eunju Namkung
Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.
Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “When Brands Go Beyond Business: How Companies Build Political and Social Identities”
How Brands Should Participate In Social And Political Issues (Business Insider)
How Nike Turns Controversy Into Dollars (CNBC)
- Shopping has become a political act. Here’s how it happened.
- Boycotting or ‘buycotting:’ The cost for brands that take a stand
- Racism, sexism, and politics pose biggest risk for brand advertisers
- Why and How Companies Invest in Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts
- Writing: What brands do you feel align with your own values the most? Why and how?
- Debate: Should brands weigh in on political and social issues through their advertisements?
- Poll: Have you ever boycotted or “buycotted” a product because the brand took a social or political stance?
- Boycott & “Buycott”
- Just Boycott
- Just “Buycott”
- Short Answer: Do you feel that the decisions you make as a consumer make a difference? Please briefly elaborate.
Current Events Quiz
1. Nielsen found that 90 percent of Millennials (aged 21-34) are willing to pay more for ______ products.
a. eco-friendly and sustainable
b. plastic-free and cruelty-free
c. fair trade and best reviewed
d. most celebrity endorsed and fair trade
2. A recent report from Morning Consult and Advertising Week, called “The 2020 Survival Guide for Brands,” found that __ percent have stopped buying from a brand that’s taken a political stance.
d. None of the above
3. According to the Morning Consult and Advertising Week report, 16 percent of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers felt that corporations should use their influence to affect political and cultural issues. According to this report, what is the sentiment among Gen Zers and Millennials?
a. A smaller percentage of Gen Zers and Millennials felt that corporations should use their influence to affect political and cultural issues.
b. The same percentage of Gen Zers and Millennials felt that corporations should use their influence to affect political and cultural issues.
c. A greater percentage of Gen Zers and Millennials felt that corporations should use their influence to affect political and cultural issues.
d. No Gen Zers and Millennials had been surveyed for the report.
4. As referred to in the Harvard Business Review article, “Why and How Companies Invest in Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts,” “being pro-democracy and pro-voter, without being ___” is the best way to create civic engagement.
d. politically correct
5. In a global brand suitability survey of media buyers conducted by Channel Factory, polarizing social content was ranked as most controversial in the U.S. at 33%, while in Europe what ranked highest at 64%?
a. sexual content
b. narcissistic content
c. fascist content
d. pro-U.S. content
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