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Customer Experience And Politics: Do They Mix? – Forbes

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In an article I wrote a few weeks ago I posited four imperatives that, I believe, are emerging from the pandemic.

One of those imperatives was experience which I then broke down into four dimensions: customer, employee, stakeholder and leader.

In three of the dimensions (customer, employee and stakeholder), I suggested that environmental and societal concerns were playing an increasingly important part in them. 

Here’s some data cited in the recent KPMG Nunwood 2020 CEE research ‘Meet Your New Customer’ report that supports that idea:

  • 90% of customers are willing to pay more for ethical retailers. Source: KPMG Me, My Life, My Wallet 2020 
  • 71% of customers say if they perceive that a brand is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that brand forever. Source: Edelman Trust Index 
  • Over a third feel it is more important that the brand’s values match their own – 52% for ages 18-34 Source: KPMG Nunwood.
  • 56% say the environmental and social practices of a company have an impact when choosing to buy from them. Source: KPMG Me, My Life, My Wallet 2020 

The report goes on to suggest that many firms are now revisiting and redefining their purpose and practices in the context of their societal and environmental impact. 

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It then goes further and suggests that we are entering an “integrity economy”, where the ethics of an organization are becoming just as important as its products and services and a company’s environmental and social credentials are becoming an increasingly important factor in purchase decisions. 

Now, when it comes to the environment, it is pretty clear that firms should be striving to achieve things like a sustainable and responsible use of resources, a significant reduction of or elimination of all waste and the overall achievement of a carbon-neutral state if not better.

However, on the social side, while we have seen many organizations strive for diversity, inclusion and equality, other data suggests that many customers are open to brands going further and are demanding that societal concerns also include political issues.

According to recent research from Adzooma, the costs and benefits of a brand becoming more political is complicated when you consider the impact of political statements or politically motivated actions on brand followers and reputation as well as the impact on a customers propensity to buy.

When it comes to followers if a brand makes a political statement Adzooma’s research shows that 27.5% of people say that they would be likely to follow that brand on social media compared to 42.2% saying they would be unlikely to follow the brand on social media.

Moreover, when it comes to reputation, 22.6% of people reported that if a brand made political statements, it would improve their opinion of the brand. In comparison, 37.1% of people said it would harm their perception of the brand.

Thus, making political statements could have a net negative impact on both a brand’s following and its reputation.

However, when we consider the impact of political statements on a customers propensity to buy, on the one hand, 63% of people said they are more likely to buy from a brand that speaks out about politics. In contrast, only 17.4% of people said that it would harm their purchasing decisions. 

But, if a brand makes a political statement or takes a politically motivated stand on a particular issue and their customers disagree with them, then 67.5% of people state that they wouldn’t buy from them.

So, there’s the complication. 

While becoming a more political brand could have a negative impact on both the brand’s social media following and overall reputation, it could also drive new customers and more sales. But, this will only happen if a brand’s customers agree with its stance.

Therein lies the risk behind becoming more of a political brand.

However, let’s consider the experience of other brands like Lush, Levi’s, Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, Jigsaw, Patagonia, Budweiser, Airbnb and Ryanair, for example, who have all taken political stands in the past and many of them continue to do. Their popularity may have taken a hit in some quarters but, overall, it doesn’t seem to have done them any economic harm, and they have, as a result, stood out among their customers and employees.

Therefore, before taking a political stand, brand and experience leaders need to ask themselves: 

  1. What do they and their brand stand for? 
  2. How well do they know both their customers and their employees and what matters to them? 
  3. Finally, they should ask themselves whether their brand would benefit most from more followers and a better reputation, or would it be better served by customers that align with them and buy more from them?

Only then will they be equipped to gauge whether they should and how they can become a more political brand.

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Mandryk: 2020 election needs to take the politics out of the classroom – Regina Leader-Post

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To be clear, there have been 85 new school capital projects announced in Saskatchewan compared with 32 school closures since 2008 after the Sask. Party took over — a period that has included unprecedented population growth.

And while New Democrat supporters might rightly be indignant about Sask. Party accusations of “NDP school closures” or playing politics with school openings, the NDP government wasn’t exactly shy about doing the same. (Political lore suggests certain high schools in Regina only exist because a local NDP MLA bitterly complained he was the only cabinet minister without a high school in his riding.)

Moreover, the current NDP surely has not been shy about distributing pre-election campaign literature that screams this government has “no solution for overcrowded classrooms” that now contributes mightily to the lack of safety during COVID-19.

Can the NDP credibly complain about dangers of classroom overcrowding while muttering about Sask. Party playing politics with school openings and closures?

And then there’s the little matter of the NDP campaign commitment to limit classroom size that would cost hundreds of millions in infrastructure and the hiring of teachers — a costly promise that may already becoming outdated by distance learning.

Of course, all this could inspire meaningful debate on education issuesthat isn’t driven by partisan politics. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

Mandryk is the political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

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It's Been A Tense Week For Politics And Pandemic Science – NPR

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Political interference on COVID-19 guidelines at the CDC, a DHHS spokesman on leave after attacking scientists on facebook live, and the President continues to contradict the science of the pandemic.

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How RBG's death could radicalize American politics – POLITICO

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“It means that we are going to war,” one influential Washington Democrat texted tonight when asked what the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg means. “They do this in the lame duck and I think Americans will rebel.”

The passion is understandable. Ginsburg was the most important and iconic Supreme Court Justice to liberals since Thurgood Marshall, the first African American on the court. She was the Left’s Antonin Scalia. Replacing her with an ideological conservative — creating a 6-3 majority on the Court for the right — would have enormous policy consequences, and not just on abortion, but on civil rights, gun laws, regulation and many other issues.

Just a few years ago, when the situation was reversed and Scalia died during the 2016 presidential campaign, Mitch McConnell denied a Senate vote to Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Ginsburg has been ill for years and Democrats have been dreading the prospect of losing her before the 2020 election is settled.

Within hours of Ginsburg’s death, Mitch McConnell made it clear Democrats fears were warranted. As McConnell had previously signaled publicly, he released a statement declaring, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

There’s some uncertainty about whether McConnell can cobble a majority of his 53 Republicans together to confirm a Ginsburg replacement. But his swift decision Friday night to reverse his 2016 position is likely to be met with two major reactions from Democrats, one short- and one long-term.

In the short term, the loss of the beloved Ginsburg, combined with McConnell’s hypocrisy, and the likelihood of the court shifting to the right, will enrage Democrats, both in the Senate and out in the country. In the Senate, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer will be under enormous pressure to respond to McConnell’s reversal with aggressive tactics.

“The question will be Chuck’s fortitude,” a Democratic strategist said. “He could shut down the Senate. A government spending bill is due in a couple weeks.”

There is a fierce debate about whether a Supreme Court battle motivates liberals or conservatives more. One conservative who supports Biden argued that dynamic favors the Democrats.

“When I heard that Scalia died I was fit to be tied because at that point we were looking at a conservative icon being replaced by Hillary Clinton,” he said. “It was like seeing your life flash before your eyes. It was terrifying. Now the Democrats are experiencing that. It is going to light the liberals on fire.”

Other Republicans argued that Trump already has the support of all the conservatives who back the president because of his court appointments. A fight over the Ginsburg replacement does little to add new supporters. Additionally, Trump’s political weakness this year is among college educated suburban voters, a constituency that is turned off by the idea of the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade.

But in the long-term, McConnell’s decision could have more far-ranging consequences.

“The winner of the election should nominate someone in January,” said John Podesta, the chair of Clinton’s 2016 campaign. “Anything else is a gross abuse of the Constitution and democratic principles.”

Since the Garland imbroglio there has been a bubbling debate on the left over how much to tinker with the Senate and the Supreme Court to redress what Democrats see as anti-majoritarian moves by McConnell and Republicans. The debate has pitted institutionalists against procedural radicals. McConnell will embolden the procedural radicals. Democrats are likely to become more united around several reforms that have divided them: ending the legislative filibuster, pushing through statehood for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, and modifying the Supreme Court to include more justices.

Not everything in politics hyped by the media is as big a deal as it seems. But RBG’s death is one of those cases where it may be even more consequential than reported. It will certainly alter the makeup of the Supreme Court, but it could also alter the course of a presidential election, transform the Senate, and turbocharge the politics of procedural radicalism.

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