Powell Tate sister agency Weber Shandwick, in partnership with KRC Research, released CEO Activism in 2018: The Purposeful CEO. The survey is the third installment of Weber Shandwick’s CEO activism series, following The Dawn of CEO Activism (2016) and High Noon in the C-Suite (2017). This year’s report finds that nearly eight in 10 consumers (77 percent) agree that CEOs need to speak out when their company’s values are violated or threatened.
Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) believe CEO activism influences the decisions and actions of government. This perceived influence on government has increased significantly since 2017 (38 percent). Democrats and Republicans alike see CEO activism as legislatively influential (54 percent and 51 percent, respectively), although Independents are less likely to agree (28 percent).
CEO activism positively influences purchasing decisions. Nearly half of consumers (46 percent) would be more likely to buy from a company led by a CEO who speaks out on an issue they agree with. Only 10 percent would be less likely to buy. This rate of positive purchasing behavior has risen significantly since 2017 (46 percent vs. 38 percent).
The report was covered in The New York Times Dealbook section with the headline, “C.E.O. activism is the new normal.”