SMPIG: Brands and Politics: Is the mix toxic or healthy for business growth?

Chicago Booth Alumni Club of Chicago

February 16, 2018: 7:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Successful brands have always found influencers and celebrities helpful to selling their product and even embed their messages to catch the waves of cultural change.


Lockton Company
500 W. Monroe st Chicago, IL
Chicago, Illinois

Event Details

But when the winds change suddenly, how a brand navigates impacts its survival.

Marketing science professor Byron Sharp, in How Brands Grow (2010) explains brands that align to people's special interests may strengthen loyalty but do not increase buyers. AMA shared 2015 data supported Sharp's research. The Kantar World panel tracks over 200 fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) categories in 39 countries—76% of global GDP. In 2015, only 47% of all FMCG brands grew, and of those, 79% grew because they gained buyers. Among the declining brands, 84% fell because they lost shoppers.

"Niche brands are not niche; they are just small brands with customer bases that are few in number... Big brands are big because they unite a diverse group of consumers with divergent values and preferences."

The shifts in cultural and political winds however make it difficult to strike the right chord, as evident by stories in which well-intentioned international brands have found themselves under the spotlight.

We wondered, whether a brand can position themselves as socially responsible and still grow? And if so, how do they avoid politics in the process?

Register to join the Strategy Management Practices Issues Group (SMPIG) to discuss these questions and your own, as we presume our 3rd Friday 7:30am schedule. In February, we will take a look at the struggles by international brands navigating sudden shifts in political and cultural winds.

Registration required to reserve a seat at the table* and please preview the articles listed below in advance to join us:

FRIDAY February 16, 7:30-8:45am

Lockton Corporation

500 W. Monroe St.

Chicago, IL

*Seating is limited to the first 20 participants, and light breakfast provided and contributions to cover costs appreciated. Note, if your plans change, please let Rachel, the organizer and facilitator know in advance, so she can open your seat to others.


There's a thin line between business and politics

Selling social movements five brands using politics in their ads

L OREAL case:

L'oreal masters multiculturalism

Harvard Business Review 2013

L'oreal's selective diversity? January 2018

Optional for those who want to go deeper

L'oreal success story goes deep below the skin

Financial Times June 2017

Optional NFL case:

How to Save football

New Yorker, November 2013



No Charge


Register Online

Deadline: 2/15/2018


Rachel Kaberon