21% of consumers boycott brands and most don’t come back

brand boycott, protect, brand protection

YouGov’s ‘Inside the Mindset of a Brand Boycotter report’ gives us some insight into consumers who boycott brands and why they can’t be ignored.

Just about every week a major brand is under attack from consumers. Last week it was Pepsi, the other week it was Coopers Brewery. Ironically, many of these latest incidents have been caused by misguided marketing efforts to get more attention for the brand and may be forgiven over time.

However, the YouGov report shows that real and lasting damage comes from unethical corporate practices such as VW’s emission scandal.

Nasra Aharchich of YouGov Reports said: “While it is not as straightforward as saying that every time a brand is seen to misbehave it will lose customers, there is a distinct proportion of consumers who will vote with their wallets.”

brand boycott

The report also shows that the majority who boycott brands won’t return. For those who initially stopped using the brand, three quarters (67%) still haven’t returned.

28% eventually went back, but did not use the brand as often as they previously had. Only 1% use the brand as much as previously.

Nearly a half (48%) of those surveyed, boycotted brands due to tax avoidance or evasion (48%). 40% stopped using the brand due to staff treated unfairly and cover ups. This was followed by workers in supply chain treated unfairly (36%) and corruption (36%).

There were a variety of reasons why consumers eventually came back to using the brand. 28% started using the brand because the company changes its practices to address the boycott. A quarter (24%) returned due to the product or service being improved.

However, for some, it appears it was too difficult to keep the boycott up. 29% returned because it was too inconvenient not to, and 18% felt it was necessary to keep using it at work or home.

Digging into the report, those who boycott brands tend to have more conservative views on money. They also share similar personality traits, seeing themselves as funny, well educated, independent, charitable and strong willed.

Interestingly, the strongest form of brand protection may not in fighting. Continually investing in building and strengthening meaningful brand relationships with customers is perhaps the strongest form of defence. The majority (79%) of consumers still claim they will stick to brands that they like, even through the tough times.

Note: The YouGov Report is based on research in Great Britain, so it only reflects views of British consumers.

Michael Hughes

Michael is Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years’ experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in unlocking the strategic power of your brand to create a differentiated, compelling and authentic brand proposition that will engage all your audiences. Michael has extensive experience working across Australia and the Middle East working with leading Australian and International organisations across just about every sector.

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