Are you tired of woke companies continually prattling on and on about social issues? Would you prefer that the companies you invest in, buy from, and see in the news and on street corners focus on selling goods and making money rather than “equity” and “diversity”?
Well, so does a supermajority of the American public.
According to a poll conducted by the Brunswick Group, only “36% of voters agree unequivocally that companies should speak out on social issues.” Furthermore, only 39% of voters think that corporate messaging on social issues is effective. That means that over 60% of the public (60% is a supermajority) wants CEOs to shut up about social issues and thinks that when those CEOs do speak out, they do so ineffectively.
That finding stands in marked contrast to the CEOs themselves, 63% of whom believe that they should speak out on social issues and 74% of whom think that their messaging on such issues is effective.
As the Brunswick Group states, that means that Corporate executives are “2-to-1 “out of step” with broader public sentiment related to engagement on social issues.”
Digging into the issue, the Brunswick Group adds that:
As the data show, the organizational impulse to weigh in on any and every social issue is disregarded by audiences, disconnected from what people want, and even diminishing to corporate reputation.
[…]The impulse to engage is only part of the story and does not stand alone. People are tired of politics. Democrats and Republicans are disliked, and voters don’t want to read about politics or watch it on TV. And Brunswick’s new data suggest they do not want corporations necessarily weighing in on the issue of the day.
This attitude is a reflection of the broad alienation that most Americans (Democrats and Republicans) feel toward people and institutions of power. New research from Gallup shows Americans have decreasing confidence in all American institutions except for the military, small business, and the police. Corporations are ranked third from last, only above Congress and television news.
In this polarized and challenging environment, it is little wonder that voters want companies to carefully consider how and when they weigh in on issues.
Furthermore, while the data shows that the public views some corporate actions, like providing aid to communities affected by disasters, as generally positive and authentic, it also shows that they view most corporate messaging and actions as inauthentic and thus not positive.
That’s particularly true, the report shows, when companies reflexively speak out on hot-button social issues and do nothing more, an issue it calls “The Talking Trap”. For example, over 60% of voters think that “companies only speak out on social issues to look better to consumers and are not being sincere.”
So, while some members of the public are generally amenable to corporate attempts to provide real aid to certain communities, a supermajority is tired of and firmly against corporations taking “woke” stands on cultural issues simply to show that they can parrot the right message.