Should Your Brand Pick a Side? How Market Share Determines the Impact of Corporate Political Advocacy
58 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 14, 2020
Consumers increasingly expect brands to “pick a side” on divisive sociopolitical issues, but managers are reluctant to risk alienating customers who oppose their position. Moreover, research on identity-based consumption and negativity bias suggests that corporate political advocacy (CPA) is more likely to repel existing customers who oppose the CPA than to attract new customers who support it, implying that the net effect will be negative even if consumers overall are evenly divided in their support/opposition. In this research, the authors posit that despite this negativity bias in individual-level choice, the net effect of CPA at the market level is determined by a sorting process that benefits small-share brands and hurts large-share brands. This is because having few customers to lose and many to gain can offset the risk of the negativity bias in consumers’ identity-driven responses to CPA, potentially leading to a net influx of customers for small-share brands. Five experiments provide support for this theorizing and identify authenticity as a necessary condition for small share brands to benefit.
Keywords: corporate political advocacy, choice share, market share, political orientation, brand activism, negativity bias, identity-based consumption
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation