2024 Corporate Activism Guide for Brands
Corporate activism is dividing the country, raising the risks and rewards for brands.
Donald Trump’s presidency catalyzed consumer and employee demand for more from the brands they buy from and work for, with the youngest generations leading the charge. And that appetite for corporate activism remains today.
Using research dating back before the last presidential election, this report aims to provide a corporate activism playbook for brands going into 2024, whether they’re looking to throw their weight around, stay out of the spotlight or react to a cultural or political flashpoint in the national conversation.
- Appetite for vocal corporate activism has remained steady since 2020. But there’s a growing generational and partisan divide on public stands from brands.
- Consumers want brands to support the police, address climate change. But relatively few want to see companies address trans rights and book bans, with many issues displaying large generational differences.
- About 1 in 5 have boycotted or “buycotted” based on political stances. That number hasn’t changed much since 2020.
- You will be judged on whether your own house is in order. Sound leadership and commitment to employees, who are increasingly seen as reflecting a company’s values, are most important to consumers.
We leveraged Morning Consult’s historical research at the intersection of brands and politics for this project. Data for this playbook comes from surveys conducted Aug. 13-16, 2019, Sept. 11-13, 2020, Sept. 20- 22, 2023, and Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023. All surveys were conducted among representative samples of at least 2,200 U.S. adults, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.
The first 2023 survey cited above is an iteration of Morning Consult’s Purpose Tracker, which we field among 2,200 U.S. adults each month. We combined roughly one year’s worth of surveys to generate sufficient samples of granular demographics, pulling from a data set of a representative sample of more than 11,000 survey respondents between August 2022 and September 2023, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-1 percentage point.
We also pulled data from Morning Consult Political Intelligence tracking surveys conducted in September 2023 among a representative sample of 7,856 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-1 percentage point.
About the authors
Joanna Piacenza leads Industry Analysis at Morning Consult. Prior to joining Morning Consult, she was an editor at the Public Religion Research Institute, conducting research at the intersection of religion, culture and public policy. Joanna graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications and holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].
Cameron Easley is Morning Consult’s lead analyst for U.S. politics. Prior to moving into his current role, he led Morning Consult's editorial coverage of U.S. politics and elections from 2016 through 2022. Cameron joined Morning Consult from Roll Call, where he was managing editor. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Follow him on Twitter @cameron_easley. Interested in connecting with Cameron to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].