business news in context, analysis with attitude

Axios reports on a new Harris Poll saying that "Americans are becoming more skeptical of corporate statements on social and geopolitical issues," with four in 10 respondents saying that companies are "speaking out too much these days."

There is, however, a generational divide:  "Older generations in particular hold this point of view, with half of boomers and 40% of Gen X agreeing, while only 31% of millennials and 18% of Gen Z feel the same."

Part of the problem is that almost seven out 10 people "believe that corporate messaging on social issues is a marketing ploy rather than an authentic opinion."

And, some political context:

"It's a bipartisan belief — 80% Democrats and 68% Republicans — that companies should speak about social causes when it affects their business performance.  However, Democrats are more accepting of companies that speak out more frequently.

"Roughly 80% of Democrats say it’s OK for companies to speak out when the company has an established track record on the given issue and when the social issue is important to their employees."

KC's View:

I would be among the cohort of Americans who believe that "speaking out too much" means being inauthentic and/or exploitive when getting involved in political or cultural issues.  It'd be nice if we lived in a world where companies  did not feel compelled to speak out - and I suspect that even those that do would prefer not to - but that's not the way things are.  The same polarization that makes societal discourse so unpleasant is the reason that companies often feel the need to draw lines - the line between what they perceive as right and wrong is fairly clear, and they feel it is important to be on the correct side of that line.

The other problem is that every issue, it seems, takes on a political context.  Which makes things worse.

Corporate bigwigs are caught betwixt and between, faced sometimes with making a choice between what's seen as good for shareholders on the one hand and what is good for employees and customers on the other.

Me, I'm glad I'm just a poor country pundit.