Is it good business for companies to make political statements? Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president over a year and a half ago, almost immediately stores started banning his products and making political statements with their businesses. How is it working for them?
Everyone from Macy’s, to the NFL to Starbucks have used their businesses to make a political statement, but is it helping them grow their business?
Macy’s was the first company to stop selling Trump products after he proposed the wall on the southern border during his campaign announcement speech.
Trump announced his candidacy on the 16th of July and on the 17th of July Macy’s stock was at a high of $72.31 per share. The stock was up since it hit a low of $5.73 in November of 2008.
By December of 2015, Macy’s stock dropped to $34.87 losing over half it’s value in the six months after announcing they will stop selling Trump products. The fifty percent drop in stock prices is not all of Trump’s fanbase refusing to shop at Macy’s. There are many factors that contribute to the fall of the stock, and as much as a Trump loyalists might claim, it wasn’t all about Trump.
Many businesses that have gone political have seen their buzz and viewerships decrease.
The NFL is another company that used Colin Kaepernick’s protest to grab headlines across the country and allowed anti-trump protests outside of the Superbowl. The league has a variety of challenges and they are not all political. The NFL has long game while people tend to have a shorter attention span than ever. The crackdown on safety is limiting some of the heard hitting action fans enjoy. Despite all the problems in the league, it doesn’t matter being political as well. It all leads to lower ratings.
The NFL has also seen a major drop in viewership. The ratings were down almost 8% this year.
Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz said his company would hire 10,000 refugees to combat Trump’s immigration plan. Although numbers have not been released yet to show the drop in sales, but if brand monitors YouGov is correct, Starbucks is taking a hit.
According to the brand perception tracking done by YouGov, Starbuck’s has seen a dramatic drop in the “buzz” category dropping from roughly 12% to below 5%.
The drop is significant since the Starbuck’s brand has maintained an average of around a 10 on the Buzz score for almost two years. Out of the above examples, Starbuck’s decision to oppose Trump’s immigration plan shows a direct decline in the brand’s “buzz”.
There is also a direct example of what happens if you support Trump. If you ask singer and songwriter Joy Villa, wonderful things happen.
The day after she wore a “Make America Great Again” gown to the Grammy awards, she went from virtual obscurity to the number one selling artist on Amazon and iTunes in 24 hours.
The Grammy Awards and the Oscars were two award shows filled with expected attacks on Trump, did that help get viewers?
As much as some people would like to claim, it isn’t all about Trump. The examples just show that there might be a risk at turning a business brand into a political statement.
Thoughts? Comment below.