– New 2017 Weber Shandwick Study on CEO Activism Finds 51 Percent of Millennials are More Likely to Buy From Companies Led by CEO Activists –
NEW YORK, July 24, 2017 – Nearly one-half of Millennials (47 percent) believe CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about issues that are important to society, far outpacing the sentiments of Gen Xers and Boomers (28 percent each). An even larger six in 10 Millennials (56 percent) say that business leaders have a greater responsibility to speak out now than in years past. This is according to CEO Activism in 2017: High Noon in the C-Suite, a report commissioned by global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick in partnership with KRC Research. This study follows The Dawn of CEO Activism, among one of the first reports published in 2016 that identified the risks and rewards for companies when their chief executives speak out on hot-button issues.
“Over the past 12 months, the climate in the United States has changed dramatically as business and policy have intersected more deeply than ever before,” said Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick. “When dozens of CEOs spoke up about the new administration’s decisions regarding issues like climate change and travel to the U.S. from select countries, for example, social media ignited, protests erupted and media attention exploded. Navigating how to communicate a company’s point of view in this environment is becoming increasingly complex and important. Future generations will only pay closer attention to how companies communicate around their values when it comes to deciding where to work or who to purchase from.”
Millennials’ Buying Decisions Increasingly Influenced by CEO Activism
CEO activism positively affects Millennials’ purchase decisions, according to the survey. Half of Millennials (51 percent) say they would be more likely to buy from a company led by a CEO who speaks out on an issue they agree with. This rate has increased since 2016 (46 percent). This form of “voting by wallet” is not to be ignored as companies fiercely compete for customers. By comparison, CEO activism is less likely to affect the purchase decisions of Gen Xers and Boomers.