An Exploration of the Relationship Between Brand Endorsement of Political Candidates/Causes and Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors Toward the Brand

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Florida Southern College
Though there has been extensive exploration into the multiple facets of brands, such as brand equity and identity, there has been little research into the influence of a brand’s support of a political candidate or cause on consumers’ brand approach or avoidance. This exploratory study gathered information through individual semi-structured interviews, focusing on consumer perceptions of brands supporting or opposing political candidates or causes, as well as the consumer’s self-reported behavioral responses to brands based on their own political views. Participants were diverse in age, gender, and political beliefs. The interviews were analyzed using the Grounded Theory Method for themes on consumer tendencies. Results have indicated three major themes, suggesting there was recognized national political divide, and as a result, an unclear consensus on whether brands should be politically active. However, if a brand does partake in political activism in some manner, consumers would rather the brand take action towards the cause. Additionally, the more invested a consumer is in the cause a brand speaks about, the more likely they are to take action in response.
Brand choice, Consumer behavior, Political candidates