How Social Movements Impact Business


Even as the protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd fade from the headlines, protesters are hoping to use their wallets to continue to get their message across.

In the age of social media, it’s easier than ever for businesses to market themselves, but it’s also easier for consumers to push back against businesses that don’t share their values.

Elton Briggs is a professor and chair of the marketing department at the University of Texas at Arlington.

“A lot of companies have liked to stay relatively quiet on these issues, not to rock the boat, not to offend a particular customer base, you know? And this is one of those times when consumers demand that you show up,” said Briggs said.

In one Morning consultation survey published last week, 70% of respondents said a CEO’s public reaction to an issue, like the Black Lives Matter movement, would permanently affect their decision to buy from that company.

Briggs said that’s especially important in the service industry, because businesses like hotels and restaurants create atmosphere.

“I can often buy a stapler and I don’t necessarily care where the stapler comes from, but again, to patronize the service is much more intimate in a sense,” he said. .

Credit Keren Carrion / KERA News



The Omni Dallas Hotel on Lamar Street, June 18, 2020.

In Dallas, a petition to display “Black Lives Matter” outside the Omni Hotel collected nearly 12,000 signatures, but the hotel did not say whether it would post the message.

“At this point, they’re doing more damage by not talking than by not talking, given the societal trend that’s happening,” Briggs said.

Other North Texas companies — like the Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines and AT&T — have come out in favor of the move.

But some activists say it’s not enough for companies to speak up. They want to see changes to support black employees within companies.

Do you have any advice? Email Rebekah Morr at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter @bekah_morr.

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