Following the Derek Chauvin verdict, where he was found guilty on all charges over the death of George Floyd, businesses started sounding off on supporting the outcome. According to a new poll, many American adults view their posturing unfavorably.
As the nation held their breath this week for the verdict in the trial, American businesses braced themselves for the worst. Most breathed a monumental sigh of relief when a guilty verdict was reached simply because it meant no rioting or destruction would ostensibly occur in its wake.
But Big Business was quick to raise their collective fists in victory over the conviction and utilize that stance for marketing purposes. Some of those that decided to use the verdict to their advantage included: American Airlines, Apple, Best Buy, Business Roundtable, Cisco, Citigroup, Dell, Eli Lilly and Company, Facebook, Ford, General Motors, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce, Stellantis, Target, Twilio, Uber, Wells Fargo, and Zoom.
The same result was found even among black Americans, Democrats in general, and Biden voters according to a post-verdict Morning Consult poll. The numbers show that Americans collectively do not trust businesses trying to make hay off the verdict. On the other side of the issue, the damage due to the opportunistic grandstanding of businesses is less among white Americans, Republicans, and Trump supporters than was expected.
The poll asked participants if they would feel more or less favorable towards a company for making statements on the verdict. Then they were asked how they would feel if a company openly opposed the outcome.
— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) April 22, 2021
Only 10 percent of adults would have a “much more favorable view” of a company if they made a statement on the verdict. Slightly more, 12 percent, would view it as “somewhat” more favorable, the survey found.
Among adults, 14 percent harbor a “much less favorable view” of a business for making a statement following the verdict. Alternately, 29 percent say that it doesn’t affect their view of a business one way or the other.
Looking at the numbers overall, the majority of 54 percent believe that a company taking a stance on the issue either does nothing for their brand or actually harms it. It’s not a big help for a business to go political on the issue and could actually hurt them.
Digging into the numbers, only 25 percent of black Americans would reportedly view a company more favorably and 21 percent of that demographic would see the company less favorably. A sobering 23 percent say it would make virtually no difference to them. It would appear that the move is not productive and not profitable.
White Americans are basically in the same camp with 20 percent seeing a business taking a stance as more favorable and a notable 27 percent seeing it as less favorable. Unsurprisingly, 30 percent don’t see it either way.
Biden voters had a 33 percent positive reaction to businesses being in favor of the verdict, with 47 percent having no reaction or a negative one.
Trump voters had a 12 percent positive view of businesses who support the verdict, while 24 percent had no reaction and a whopping 45 percent had a negative reaction to companies in favor of the verdict.
The glaring result of businesses opposing the guilty verdict was significant compared to those who supported it… which was not much different from the broader first question. Only 15 percent favorably reacted to this stance whereas 49 percent had a negative reaction, with 18 percent reportedly not caring about it.
What was seemingly evident was that however a business weighs in on the verdict, Americans don’t trust them and are not motivated by the move. What is evident, is that businesses don’t gain much of anything by coming out publicly in favor or against the verdict. Politics and business don’t seem to mix well in American culture.
By going political, businesses created more divisiveness among Americans and it seemingly did not impress consumers.
Here are some of the tweets sent out by businesses following the verdict:
Today’s verdict was just, but as Dr. King wrote: “Justice for Black people will not flow into society merely from court decisions nor from fountains of political oratory…Justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.”
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 20, 2021
The horrific murder of George Floyd rocked us to our core. Today we are hopeful and reminded of why we fight for justice for all. @Cisco will continue to live our values, show up for our employees, customers & communities and stand for fairness, equity & truth.
— Chuck Robbins (@ChuckRobbins) April 20, 2021
The past several weeks have been a painful and poignant reminder of the need to support reform and condemn injustice. Our thoughts are with the Floyd family as these verdicts will not replace their loss.
— Mary Barra (@mtbarra) April 20, 2021
We can’t fix the long history of racism in America overnight, but we must do what we can to address it and make the world a better place. https://t.co/uRxL7dw8CN
— Pat Gelsinger (@PGelsinger) April 20, 2021
“Something that will last. In the spot where Floyd died—where the trinkets of almost every faith’s mourning’s traditions and an outline of Floyd’s body in blue paint can be spotted—the outdoor memorial still stands.” ❤️☮️✌️@JanellRoss https://t.co/C6ZKsD9YO4
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) April 20, 2021
Today’s verdict was a defining & important moment.
We recognize this does not make up for so much loss and injustice experienced by the Black community. George Floyd should be alive today. The work continues. We will keep taking action for racial equality and a more just world.
— Salesforce (@salesforce) April 20, 2021
While it is not a fix for systemic, deep bias & broader problems, I'm thankful that a jury has rendered a verdict that comports with reality.
— Jeff Lawson (@jeffiel) April 20, 2021
Today represents accountability and an important step towards justice. But it's just that: a step. I continue to have George Floyd's family on my mind — the injustice of their loss won’t be changed by today’s news. We all have more work to do.
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) April 21, 2021
This day is meaningful in the pursuit of justice, although Black communities continue to experience targeted acts of violence. I want to affirm our support for our Black employees and the Black community.
I also want to share excerpts from notes we sent to employees today. pic.twitter.com/ru42dq5Bex
— Eric S. Yuan (@ericsyuan) April 21, 2021
— Michael Dell (@MichaelDell) April 20, 2021
— Wells Fargo (@WellsFargo) April 20, 2021
Addressing systemic racism is a journey, and it will take all of us coming together and doing the hard work to make the world a fairer and more just place. Lilly is committed to racial justice and will continue to push towards lasting change. #WeAreLilly pic.twitter.com/PVePONCjGr
— Eli Lilly and Company (@LillyPad) April 20, 2021
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