Small business PR pulse: What role do consumers’ politics play?

by | Jun 2, 2017 | Public Relations

Politics has been touted a hot-button issue in today’s marketplace, but small business may actually be an exception—according to new research from small biz services firm Cox Business, consumers would overwhelmingly continue to support a small biz owner if he or she voted differently than them, while only 16 percent of respondents would stop supporting a small business if they knew the owner’s political leanings differed from their own.

But at the same time, 35 percent of consumers would stop supporting a small business if they knew the owner was vocal on social media about his/her political leanings or preferred candidate.

The firm’s study also found that an overwhelming number of Americans visit a local small business at least once a week, with slightly more than a quarter (27 percent) patronizing small businesses twice a week. According to the 2017 Cox Business Consumer Pulse on Small Businesses, only eight percent of survey respondents don’t visit any type of small business in an average week.

Small business PR

Consumers may have a stronger sense of familiarity with the small business owners and employees who work in those businesses, according to the findings. However, survey respondents selected local support and convenience as the top reasons they go the small-biz route. When selecting their top three reasons for shopping and supporting small, the run-down ranked as follows:

  • Local support (67 percent)
  • Convenience (63 percent)
  • Better customer service (than a large business) (50 percent)
  • Familiarity between respondents and small business owner/employees (45 percent)


When it comes to shopping small, the price apparently doesn’t have to be right—only 14 percent of respondents said “more competitive pricing” was a top reason for supporting small business.

Government support

Both local and federal government agencies can do more to promote small business growth in their communities, according to most survey respondents. An overwhelming number of respondents (82 percent) feel the federal government falls short in this area. Two-thirds of respondents feel local government agencies do not do enough to promote small business growth in their communities either.

“These survey findings show that Americans are overwhelmingly united in their support of small businesses regardless of the so-called things that divide us,” said Steve Rowley, executive vice president of Cox Business, in a news release. “Most consumers want to do their part in supporting the American workforce and economy and understand their collective patronage of these establishments is a key component of building stronger communities.”

Get more details on the 2017 Cox Consumer Pulse on Small Businesses here.

The 2017 Cox Business Consumer Sentiment Survey on Small Business was a blind survey conducted in March 2017 among nearly 1,900 consumers across the following 14 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus three percent.

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 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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