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To support or not to support? Consumers’ reaction to brands political activity

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This study offers an innovative methodology combining qualitative and quantitative content analysis to address a current debate concerning global brands taking part in political discussions. Global and local brands are more and more willing to support or disapprove political leader’s policies on critical issues such as immigration, duties or healthcare with specific communication campaigns. Although there is a long tradition that looks at companies from a political perspective, the issue of how corporate political involvement is perceived within the society and by consumers is at a moot point. The study, therefore, investigates the influence of Corporate Political Activity (CPA) on brand reputation and consumers’ reaction, combining a social media content analysis of Facebook users’ comments with a correspondence analysis. The analysis is carried out using Nvivo for the data collection, the word frequency count and the coding process of contents, and SPSS for the correspondence analysis. By considering CPA from a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) perspective, the research explores the case of United Colours of Benetton (UCB) to tackle anti-discrimination and diversity through their online advertising campaign on the Italian Facebook corporate page. Through the empirical analysis of the consumers’ reaction to social and political activities, the research offers practical managerial implications for brands considering the opportunity to participate or not in relevant discussions projecting specific outcomes. Finally, the research contributes to the literature by applying plural emerging methodological techniques in the field of online content analysis for the investigation of consumers’ perceptions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMicro & Macro Marketing
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 31 Jul 2019

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  • Consumers’ Reaction to Brands Political Activity

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