‘Tis the Polling Season: Which Brands Get Consumers’ Votes

By Meghan Tetwiler, Brand Planner @ NYCA

On November 2nd consumers across America will take to the polls.  Lately, I can’t help but wonder, “Do brands know, or care, how their core consumers are casting their votes?”  If not, should they?

A recent YouGov Brand study showed that America’s leading brands are favored amongst different consumer groups, notably divided by political partisanship.  Check out the chart below!

*These results are based on an index incorporating consumer impressions of quality, value, satisfaction, overall reputation and willingness to recommend brands to others.

As you can see, registered Democrats deem Google as their #1 brand whereas Republicans deem Fox News as their #1 brand.  Taking into account our increasingly bilateral society, it’s not surprising how Democrats and Republicans’ differences naturally spill over into their purchase decisions.  That said, this is the first time I’ve seen consumers’ favorite brands color-coded, distinctively red or blue.

Rarely do companies choose to focus on the political underpinnings of their consumers’ behaviors.  As in first date etiquette, it’s often seen as an advertising faux pas to blur the lines between branding and campaigning.  Unless a client is on the upcoming election’s ballot, political beliefs should arguably be left outside the office door.  Look at how Target’s decision to contribute to a candidate opposed to gay rights has backlashed; angered protesters and institutional shareholders continue to exploit Target Corp. daily, in effort to deter other businesses from allocating corporate funds into elections.

Problem is, when we’re trying to more completely understand consumers, it’s negligent to leave political beliefs 100% off the docket.  That is, consumers’ political beliefs, anyway.

We marketers share politicians’ ongoing challenge to develop deep-rooted connections that ultimately win peoples’ support.  In today’s ever consumer-centric world, no brand or candidate will win without an in-depth understanding of peoples’ wants and needs.  A lot can be learned from studying how consumers cast their votes.  Think about how telling this top ten chart is, at second glance; it indicates Democrats prefer DIY news/information seeking and Republicans prefer to rely on their trusted sources for news/information.  The example of knowing how consumers fulfill their need to get news and information should help inform the types of tools and resources we advertisers craft.

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