Brands and companies such as Bud Light and Target wrestled with boycotts in the past year after embracing what consumers consider extreme woke ideology. Now, an app is available to measure a company’s risk of backlash from a political or social controversy.
The Goods Unite Us app calculates the risk of backlash, what its designers call “political hazard,” based on five components: political dichotomy, political contributions, association, brand visibility, and public statement.
The category of political dichotomy has the largest impact on the final rating for a company or corporation, according to Goods Unite Us. This rating evaluates the difference between a corporation’s political contributions and the likely political leaning of its consumer base.
“Netflix is a perfect example of a company facing a large political dichotomy risk, for example, because the company and its executives are very progressive, but its users span both political ideologies,” Goods Unite Us co-founder Brian Potts told The Daily Signal in an email.
Netflix’s political hazard rating is 4.5 out of 5. A higher rating is associated with a larger risk of controversy. The streaming service has high visibility and Netflix Executive Chairman Reed Hastings donates exclusively to Democrats, according to Goods Unite Us, which leads to heightened risk.
Goods Unite Us co-founder and CEO Abigail Wuest said she believes that companies that hesitate to embrace woke ideology have right-leaning customer bases.
“Some companies will likely lean into the ‘woke ideology’ if both the executives and the consumer base share that ideology,” Wuest said.
In April, consumers boycotted Bud Light, a beer brand produced by the Anheuser-Busch brewery, over its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The brand’s marketing vice president, who was behind the campaign, later left the company.
Six months later, Bud Light sales still are flagging.
Amazon’s political hazard rating is 2.8 because senior executives rarely take associational positions and the company is too big and convenient to be targeted by major boycotts, according to Goods Unite Us.
“We’ve seen significant political controversies occur on both sides of the aisle in the last year, but our analysts have not observed an appreciable change in corporate activity yet,” Potts said. “That’s why we think our ratings can be particularly helpful to both companies and investors.”
In addition to assigning ratings, Goods Unite Us has tracked corporate donations to political candidates since 2017. For example, it created a list of 25 companies with the largest impact on turning the Supreme Court conservative by checking which ones contributed financially to conservative senators who voted to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020 and Justice Brett Kavanaugh in October 2018.
The companies at the top of that list are Goldman Sachs, Community Bank, and Home Depot.
“It hasn’t been until recently that we’ve seen consumer and investor backlash from political activities causing material, adverse impacts to companies,” Potts told The Daily Signal.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.