MMNPL 2017 Insight: How CEO and Politics Affect Brand Image

by Belfort Group | Corporate , Launch PR , Thought Leadership
May 30, 2018

The following insight is from our 2017 Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey, scroll down to download the full eBook. 


How much influence does the CEO of a company have when consumers are making purchase considerations for new products?

Results from our 2017 Most Memorable New Product Launch survey indicate that overall, the role of a CEO is relatively modest; but when it comes to politics, factors such as gender, age, cohort and self-identified political affiliation show significant differences in the impact this charged topic has on purchasing power.

Recognition and trust minimally impact purchasing power. Only 18 percent of consumers say that recognizing the company owner or CEO is“usually” or “always” a consideration, while more than half (54%) say this is “usually not” or “never” a consideration. Trust in the owner or CEO is somewhat more important, with 34 percent citing trust as “usually” or “always” a consideration.

Following a particularly divided and controversial election year in which political news dominated the media and increased media consumption habits of Americans in 2017 by 40 percent, MMNPL asked respondents if an owner or CEO’s political orientation is a consideration before making a purchase. Fewer than half of respondents (46%) report that this is “sometimes,” “usually” or “always” a consideration.

It is less important to older cohorts that they recognize the CEO: 59 percent of Boomers and 56 percent of Gen X say it is “usually not” or “never” a consideration, compared to 46 percent of Millenials or iGen.

Men (26%) are significantly more likely than women (16%) to say that a CEO’s political orientation is “usually” or “always” a consideration. One-third of Millenials (31%) say that a CEO’s political orientation is “usually” or “always” a consideration, compared to older cohorts (between 12% and 21%).

Self-identified Republicans are more likely than Democrats (24% vs. 16%) to say that recognizing the CEO is important. In contrast, Democrats are more likely than Republicans (27% vs. 19%) to report “usually” or “always” considering the CEO’s political orientation when making a new purchase.

“Political news is incredibly pertinent in the heavily trafficked digital space, both on social media and online news outlets,” says Belfort Group’s CEO Joan Schneider, “In today’s world, younger generations expect brands to clearly communicate their values. Millennials care a lot about corporate responsibility and are very concerned about making sure they only support brands that align with their own values, politically and personally.”

While Millennials may appreciate an affiliation with their mindset, they also may be quick to point out when the brand is attempting to interject themselves into a narrative that is not theirs. Millennials are increasingly demanding greater transparency and campaigns that amount to not only words, but actions. Meaning that if brands want to make an impression with younger audiences, they need to identify their core values and a brand, communicate them clearly in their messaging and demonstrate those values in an authentic way through concrete actions.

politics affect brand image Graph

Our 2017 Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey is available for download from the form below:

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