Forrester continues to cover the increasing collision of brands and politics. We’ve even predicted that, in 2022, 10 big brands will step in where governments fail to act. But the situation in Ukraine is different than other (past or present) issues on which companies have taken action. It’s not caught up in the current culture war — it’s about a real war. While most issues have become divisively partisan, there is overwhelming consumer consensus that brands should speak out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, do more to help the people of Ukraine, and (above all else) pull their operations out of Russia immediately.

Forrester conducted a quick “pulse check” poll* of 809 adults today in its ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community (MROC) across the US, Canada, and the UK to gauge consumer sentiment about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The results of the poll indicate that (of the sample) 581 feel their government should do more to help the people of Ukraine (316 strongly agree, 20 strongly disagree).

What continues to be striking is the shift in the mindset of our culture: In the most divisive decade of our time, consumers expect that companies/brands take action on issues. But an even higher amount want more. The demands on companies, particularly those with brands that are part of the fabric of our global culture, continue to be elevated — from upholding the highest standard of brand values to playing a role in the governance of our society.

    • 637 (of 809) think companies/brands should speak out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine (445 strongly agree, 29 strongly disagree).
    • 639 (of 809) feel companies/brands should do more to help the people of Ukraine (395 strongly agree, 23 strongly disagree).
    • 678 (of 809) want businesses to pull their operations out of Russia immediately (501 strongly agree, 20 strongly disagree).
*Note: This poll was administered to a sample of 809 online consumers in the US, UK, and Canada in Forrester’s qualitative ConsumerVoices online community. This data is not weighted to be representative of total country populations.

Democracy Comes At Real Cost — Are Consumers Really Ready To Sacrifice?

While consumers want to see companies pull their operations out of Russia (and many already have, including Adobe, Netflix, and agency network WPP most recently), questions remain, including:

    1. To what degree are consumers ready to “vote with their wallets” for companies that don’t take a stand?
    2. How far are consumers willing to make personal sacrifices (i.e., paying more at the pump) as companies make necessary trade-offs?
    3. What long-term effect will this war have on the reputation of Russia and Russian brands?
    4. Can consumers and our economies withstand (or even benefit) from the radical disruption in our global supply chain?

Forrester is digging into these questions as well as other Ukraine-related topics, including how to: