Controversial Issues Survey: Taking Sides Not Always Recommended

In recent months, some companies like Oreo and JC Penney have taken stands on controversial issues like gay marriage. Some consumers have spoken out against these brands, but others have flocked to support these businesses that support causes close to their hearts. How many consumers would boycott companies they disagree with, and how many would go out of their way to support businesses that take a stand?

jc penney

Supporting Brands

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 14% of US consumers said they would definitely stop supporting a company if it stood up for an issue they disagree with. 49% of consumers said they would probably stop supporting a company in that situation. 34% said they probably wouldn’t stop supporting a company because of their stance on an issue. And just 4% said they definitely wouldn’t stop supporting a company that took a stand on an issue.

On the other hand, 23% of survey takers said they would definitely go out of their way to support a business that took a stand on an issue they agree with. 58% said they would probably be more likely to support a business in this situation. 16% said they would probably not go out of their way to support a business that took a stand on an issue. And just 3% said they definitely wouldn’t be more likely to support a business because it took a stand on an issue.

Smart Business

Although many Americans are more likely to support companies when they agree with them on controversial issues, only 10% of respondents said they think it’s a smart business decision for companies to choose a stance on a controversial issue. 60% said they think it can sometimes be a smart business decision. And 30% said they don’t think it is ever a smart business decision for companies to speak out about issues.

Social Media

Sometimes a company’s stance on a particular issue makes it into the news or advertisements, but in the case of Oreo, the company announced its stance on its Facebook page, garnering a wide range of comments from fans. 54% of respondents said they follow brands and companies using social media sites. Women and respondents under 24 were more likely to follow brands on social media sites.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: JC Penney from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on June 27 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Pilon
Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.