Contemporary Consumption of Brand Activism

Lewis, Natasha
Vredenburg, Jessica
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Palgrave Macmillan

When it is well-executed, evidence suggests that brand activism can create beneficial outcomes for a brand: However, effects on both the cause and the consumer are less understood. Thus, this chapter aims to better understand how consumers interpret, evaluate, and act on brand activism efforts. Through a consumer-focused lens, we seek to uncover how brand activism initiatives can best be communicated in order to encourage positive consumer sentiment in those who consume them. Focus groups were used to understand consumer interpretations of, responses to, and expectations regarding brand activism in the context of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Our findings revealed a shift in consumer expectations, with consumers looking for authentic internal commitment to support any external messaging, in order for it to be positively received. This shift in consumer expectations highlights the change in brand activism practice over the past few years: It is no longer acceptable to merely advocate for a position or raise awareness. This chapter contributes to foundational research laying the groundwork for future consumer research focusing on understanding the consumption of brand activism.

Lewis, N., Vredenburg, J. (2024). Contemporary Consumption of Brand Activism. In: Bäckström, K., Egan-Wyer, C., Samsioe, E. (eds) The Future of Consumption. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
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