Today’s customers expect (and often demand) that brands take a stand on political and social issues — particularly those related to a brand’s purpose, like environmentalism or fostering creativity or exploration. When done well, supporting a certain cause can bond brands to like-minded consumers who are more likely to buy from and remain loyal to the company. But if done incorrectly, it may alienate the brand from others and cause an uproar on social media.
In 2018, McDonald’s flipped its iconic M to be a W to recognize International Women’s Day, but consumers said the gesture rang hollow due to a lack of action. In 2019, McDonald’s paired the upturned M with an initiative meant to support and advance women in the organization, which was more widely praised.