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Brands answer tumultuous election year with merch and initiatives

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Yahoo Finance, November 2020

In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, as tens of millions of citizens already cast ballots in early voting states, brands devised ways to make their own voices heard.

In a particularly turbulent election season in which President Donald Trump has repeatedly challenged the integrity of voting by mail and rallied his base to show up at polling sites, fashion companies jumped into the discourse by fervently promoting voting-themed collaborations with artists and designers, as well as various voting initiatives.

Brands are sensing increasing pressure to weigh in on political issues, though they tend to be wary of taking stances that could alienate part of their customer base, experts said. Advocating for the nonpartisan endeavor of voting is a neutral way to engage audiences and seize on the energy of the moment, said Jonah Berger, professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of “The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind,” which came out this year.

“I think brands have realized, particularly smart brands have realized, that taking perspectives on issues is both a way to get attention and also a way to connect with customers,” said Berger. “It’s not just about what you’re selling — it’s about what the meaning is in what you’re selling,” he said. “So brands are interested in not only selling clothing and fashion items, but also in selling an ethos, a way of being, an identity, a set of values.

Continue reading at Yahoo Finance.

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