Do brands have a duty to protect consumers’ and employees’ right to vote? Most people say yes

by | Apr 16, 2021 | Public Relations

Politicians nationwide have filed hundreds of bills to suppress the right to vote, and as activists gather to protest voting restrictions, new research from ad agency OBERLAND finds the nation’s largest brands are not doing enough to stand up for their employees’ and consumers’ fundamental rights. Many of them have fallen silent—and those who have spoken out have done just that: spoken. Their words have yet to translate into meaningful action.

The disparity in brand response to the current issue of voting rights, as compared to brands’ urgency for activism in 2020, cannot be attributed to lack of desire for them to take action.

The firm recently released findings from a survey of 10,000 consumers of the nation’s largest, publicly traded brands in Texas—JCPenney, Whole Foods Market, Dell, AT&T, American Airlines, Pizza Hut—and brands across the nation—Petsmart, CircleK, Sprouts, Delta Air Lines, The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bank of America, Aramark, Rite Aid and PNC Financial Services Group—revealing that 83 percent of these companies’ consumers believe the corporations have a duty to protect their—and their employees’—right to vote.

Do brands have a duty to protect consumers' and employees' right to vote? Most people say yes

At the end of the day, companies who committed to taking social action over the past year must put their money where their mouth is by taking a stand against voter suppression

Saying a bill is “unacceptable” is not enough. Following the lead of Kenneth Chenault and Kenneth Frazier is a great first step—but it’s not the end of the road. Those who stay silent and those who do not back up words with action risk losing both consumer and employee loyalty and satisfaction. And with that, goes your business—no matter how many political allies you have.

Do brands have a duty to protect consumers' and employees' right to vote? Most people say yes

How can brands walk the walk?

The research found that nearly half of Americans who consume the nation’s largest brands want them to set up partnerships or recurring donations with voter rights organizations. What’s more, 50 percent of the companies’ Black consumers, who are disproportionately affected by the suppressive legislation, want to see brands launch campaigns denouncing legislation that suppresses the right to vote.

Do brands have a duty to protect consumers' and employees' right to vote? Most people say yes

Brands: it’s your DUTY to stand up for your consumers and employees by fighting against voter suppression bills, the researchers proclaim. You have the connections and resources to change the minds of politicians. CEOs: make your brand all you promised it to be in 2020. And your business will thank you.

Do brands have a duty to protect consumers' and employees' right to vote? Most people say yes

Read more about the research here.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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