Reporters Suzanne Kapner and Dante Chinni had a fascinating story in this week’s Wall Street Journal that looked at the consumer behavior patterns of Republicans vs. Democrats, and how those patterns have changed over the years.
The Journal analyzed 15 years of consumer surveys conducted by MRI-Simmons, a research firm. The research, which studied 2,528 brands, products and stores, found the number of products skewing Democratic by at least 3 percentage points rose to 309 in 2018 from 192 in 2004. Meanwhile, the number of products with a Republican tilt declined to 153 from 214.
Here are some takeaways:
- clothing: Wranglers, Belk, Walmart
- alcohol: Coors, Michelob Ultra
- restaurants: Chick-fil-A, Arby’s, Steak ‘n Shake
- news/media: Fox News, CMT, Hallmark Channel, The Outdoor Channel
- automobiles: GMC, Ford, Buick, Nascar
- clothing: Levis, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Nike
- alcohol: Jose Cuervo Especial, Korbel, Moet & Chandon, Sutter Home
- restaurants: Starbucks, Boston Market, Carl’s
- news/media: CNN, CNBC, NBA
- automobiles: Volkswagen, Mazda, Nissan
Why is understanding these numbers useful to firms?
Nearly 60% of 1,000 Americans surveyed last year by Edelman, a large public relations firm, said they would choose, switch, avoid, or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues. That is up from 47% in 2017.
People of all ages, particularly younger consumers, expect a brand to take a stand, according to David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble, while also acknowledging that not everybody will like every ad.
Phil Knight, a co-founder of Nike, stated that “It doesn’t matter how many people hate your brand as long as enough people love it. You have to take a stand on something.”
Here’s a visual that shows some of the major changes in the past 15 years:
So it looks like I need to buy a Nissan so that I can pick up a coffee at Starbucks while wearing a pair of Levi’s and then head over to the liquor store to grab a bottle of Korbel to bring home to enjoy while watching CNN.
And as for the next Democratic debate, perhaps all the candidates should bring a bottle of Moet & Chandon to the podium with them while proudly wearing a Nike sweatshirt with an NBA logo prominently displayed.
After all, you do want to appeal to your base…