Despite Their Differences, Americans Agree Brands Should Help Small Businesses Impacted by Looting

Consumers have a more favorable view of companies that lend support

cleaning up broken storefront windows
The majority of people also think it's important for business leaders to address racial inequality. Getty Images
Headshot of Paul Hiebert

Key insights:

There’s no shortage of division in America in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has led to protests all over the country, and in some cases, looting and riots. But consumers are still showing some signs of agreement when it comes to how brands should react.

The majority of Americans—56%—said they’d have a more favorable view of companies that set up a fund to support small businesses or retailers impacted by the looting, according to research from data intelligence company Morning Consult, which surveyed nearly 2,000 U.S. adults between May 31 and June 1. Only 7% said they’d have a less favorable view of companies that lent financial aid to small businesses damaged during the protests.

Support for the idea, however, was not equal across demographics. Consumers aged 65 and older, for example, were more likely to have a positive attitude (67%) toward companies that donated funds to help small businesses damaged during the protests than those aged 18-34 (49%).

In total, 51% of consumers said they’ve have a more positive impression of brands that donated to community cleanup funds following the protests. The same amount voiced support for the idea of posting additional security in front of all “at-risk” stores or locations.

While plenty of brands made statements on social media denouncing racism in the days after Floyd’s death—caused by a white police officer kneeling on his neck—calls to donate money to causes that fight for equality and justice quickly followed.

Some companies, such as L’OrĂ©al, have been decried as hypocrites for posting that they stand in solidarity with the Black community while their past actions suggest otherwise. Still, remaining silent during the protests and demonstrations is also a gamble, as 22% of consumers said they’d have a less favorable view of brands that don’t make an official statement, compared to 15% who said they’ve have a more favorable view.

Other results in the survey show that 71% of consumers agree that it’s either very or somewhat important for business leaders to address racial inequality in the U.S., in terms of income, healthcare, voting rights or general quality of life. Nearly two-thirds (64%) believe it’s important for business leaders to help handle the protests and demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities.

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@hiebertpaul Paul Hiebert is a CPG reporter at Adweek, where he focuses on data-driven stories that help illustrate changes in consumer behavior and sentiment.