Earlier this week, Nike, the world’s leading shoe brand, unveiled the individual who would be the face of the 30th anniversary of their wildly popular “Just Do It” campaign, and it was none other than controversial former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Clearly, Nike is coming out as a hard left company, as they are supporting Kaepernick and his racially divisive form of protest which consists of taking a knee during the National Anthem, a move that many see as disrespectful to veterans as well as a gesture of ingratitude, seeing as how this country provides people like Kaepernick the opportunity to make millions of dollars by just playing a game.
Nike isn’t the only brand to come out as liberal in the last few years, leaving many folks wondering why these companies keep opening up politically, knowing that doing so will end up alienating a large segment of their customer base and thus, adversely impacting their bottom line.
Well, truth be told, while they are most definitely going to lose some folks, they end up gaining far more in other ways, which is precisely why they are doing it.
You see, consumers this day and age expect the companies they purchase goods and services from to reflect their moral and political values, thus when a brand takes a stand on a controversial issue, it usually strengthens its bond with a particular demographic of individuals who share those same values, which ultimately translates into those folks buying more of that company’s products or at least being willing to pay a higher price for them as a means of showing support to the business.
However, this seems to only work when engaging to the left of the political spectrum and not to the right.
Unfortunately for conservatives, markets for consumer products are not democracies. As American politics gets more polarized by age and less polarized by income, most brands’ target customer will tend to move left relative to the country’s political median, even as the average voter sits to the right of the whole country’s political median.Advertisement - story continues below
For example, a poll conducted for The Washington Post in May found that 63% of respondents over age 50 thought it was “never” appropriate to protest by kneeling during the national anthem; only 38% of respondents under 30 said the same.
Younger Americans are also more ethnically diverse than older Americans, so a company trying to sell to young people is naturally selling into a much more diverse “electorate” than a political party running a national election in which the average congressional district is significantly whiter than the country as a whole.
So, think about the demographic of who’s most upset about Kaepernick’s protest movement, and then think about how much an athletic-apparel company needs to concern itself with the opinions of senior citizens, and then think about why Nike thinks this ad campaign will improve its sales.
There is also the problem that conservatives are desperately uncool.
You’d think some brands would try to get on the conservative side of big political issues — you make the conservative sneaker, I’ll make the liberal sneaker, and both of us can enjoy higher profit margins because we don’t have to compete with each other on price. Alas, the conservative shoemaker will face a coolness deficit with not-especially-political consumers, not to mention with the left-leaning creative professionals he’ll need to market the shoes in the first place.
Another important reason why liberal companies seem to benefit more from being open about their political ideology has to do with the fact that the vast majority of folks who are considered influential — think celebrities who endorse products as one example — are left-of-center for the most part, thus giving left-wing companies a bigger boost in the sales department than their conservative counterparts.
The bottom line is that, while companies will certainly suffer some losses from conservatives who decide not to purchase their products anymore due to their left-wing stances on some issues, it’s a price they are willing to pay in order to gain a better, more consistent, loyal following from a younger demographic who will translate into lifelong customers, providing greater stability and longevity for the company.
Unfortunately, until conservatives are willing to admit that they have failed to properly engage the culture at large and work toward revamping the image conservatives currently have with young people, this trend isn’t likely to change.
Source: Business Insider