In the not-so-distant past, it was expected that we would censor our speech. At the dinner table, near friends and family, in the workplace, and at the grocery store there was something we didn't discuss.
*softly whispers* politics.
In the words of Bob Dylan, 'the times they are a-changin.'
If you haven't heard, politics is cool now. No, really. Being civically engaged is totally in. Keeping your head in the sand is so last year.
In 2020, major brands and influencers are putting their reputations on the line to take a stand in the political arena. Truth be told, they're winning.
The idea that we aren't supposed to talk about politics, that consumers don't want to hear it, etc etc...that's over and done with.
The marketplace is changing, my friend. As Millennials and Zoomers are taking a firm foothold in the marketplace (and as the largest voting blocs) the tectonic plates are shifting.
If you haven't heard, the young people like social justice issues. In fact, they continue to fuel mass movements, leading calls for systemic change in our nation. Brands have caught on.
Between the ire caused by the pandemic, the weight of the upcoming election, and the fallout from the death of George Floyd, the nation has been called to action. Brands and influencers have finally recognized that it's safe to come out of their shell -- the race is on.
If you traditionally don't pay attention to politics, and the underlying issue of voting, here's the backdrop: American's don't often vote. Specifically, young Americans.
In 2016, only 46% of 18-29 year olds voted. As you may recall, that election was decided by only 80,000 votes. So, brands are interested in getting young people to vote.
Which brands are tuning in?
While some of these brands are taking firm stances, i.e. Patagonia, most are sticking to one message: Go Vote. Easy enough.
You don't have to subject your brand to any political scrutiny by stepping too far off the ledge by actually getting political. It remains true that voting applies to Americans of every ideological stripe.
According to a report by the Global Strategy Group from July of 2018: 76% of people are merely likely to work for a company that promotes democracy; 81% are more likely to purchase from that company; and more than 80% were more likely to recommend that company to their friends.
Traditionally, the brands that stay politically neutral focus on motivation, rather than direct action. Take Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. These platforms have integrated a voter registration capability, built tools that help users find their polling location, and created reminders to vote.
Why does this matter?
If you refer back to previous articles, we've talked a lot about the importance of getting engaged with your consumers. Things like: building community, telling stories, and being authentic, have all come up.
Launching a campaign to encourage your consumers to vote is one way to accomplish that goal.
Though your campaign doesn't have to be as tech-driven as Snapchat, simple actions like Levi's teaming up with Rock the Vote to help consumers check their registration status, or Patagonia closing their stores on Election Day are incredibly easy to do.
These things send a clear message to your customers: You care about democracy.