As 2020 Election Nears, Brands Must Weigh Getting Political

Survey of U.S. adults reveals 'a whole new set of challenges'

As 2020 takes shape, brands have a choice to make — will they get political? Getty Images

As we get closer to November 2020 and sort through who we want to occupy the White House, brands have to figure out how they’ll navigate those same choppy political waters.

So far, fewer consumers said they felt like brands were becoming more political compared to when the same question was asked last summer, according to a new study from consumer research company Morning Consult.

In particular, 53% of American adults said they thought corporations had become more political in recent years. Last July, 64% of consumers said they thought corporations had become more political.

For the study, more than 4,000 interviews were conducted among U.S. adults, including with over 1,000 millennials and over 1,000 Gen Zers.

“The 2020 election is presenting a whole new set of challenges for companies,” said Jeff Cartwright, Morning Consult’s vice president, in a statement.

Taking a side when it comes to a candidate or political issues could drive away consumers, according to the study, which found that 29% of consumers say they have stopped purchasing from a brand because of its political stance. Conversely, 15% of those interviewed said they have spent money to support a brand based on a political view.

These tendencies don’t vary by age, the study found.

For more insights, check out the full report.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.