Heading into a divisive presidential election year, customers want businesses to focus on taking care of their employees over pursuing politically motivated social campaigns, a new national survey found.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. customers released Jan. 21 by PLUS Communications and GS Strategy Group found that “[c]ompanies can prove their commitment to putting people over profits by showing how they treat employees,” and that “[c]ompanies should stay neutral, not cater to the far left or right. Having a centrist image is key to maintaining or developing a positive image among customers.”
PLUS Communications Managing Partner Danny Diaz said this new research shows that companies can boost their image, even in today’s polarizing political climate, by focusing on employee well-being.
“Smart companies should take advantage of the booming economy to take care of their employees, not cater to the politics of the moment,” Diaz said.
“Despite what some talking heads might have you believe, our research shows that companies would do well to steer clear of politically divisive social campaigns,” GS Strategy Group President Greg Strimple said. “Investing in employees is a critical way for companies to show customers they have placed a premium on the right priorities.”
Key findings included these:
• Customers are nearly twice as concerned about their economic future (58 percent) than how they are doing currently (31 percent); nearly half say they think about their future situation very often (48 percent).
• Overwhelmingly, customers believe the top corporate responsibility measure is employee benefits and wages.
• But by a 56 to 7 percent margin, customers believe businesses prioritize profits over fair compensation for employees.
• Not only do customers want companies to take action to prioritize employees, customers trust businesses to be more effective at ensuring their financial well-being than politicians. By a 51 to 32 margin, Americans believe the business community will be more successful than Congress when it comes to addressing challenges, such as ensuring employees’ financial security.
• Customers are tired of political correctness — 81 percent agree it has gone too far.
The survey yielded these strategic takeaways, according to a news release:
• Taking care of employees appeals to left-of-center customers.
• Creating a sense of balance between concern for profit and concern for customers improves a company’s image.
• Companies are strongest when seen as non-partisan. The more they are viewed as neither aligned with the Republican nor Democratic parties, the better their image.
PLUS Communications and GS Strategy Group conducted the national survey of 1,000 U.S. customers online in December 2019. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.
View the complete survey here.

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