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Brief Published: 3 Aug 2017

Millennials Reward CEO Activism

In the US, 51% of millennials are more likely to buy from a company led by a chief executive who speaks out on an issue they agree with

In the US, 51% of millennials (aged 18 to 36) are more likely to buy from a company led by a chief executive who speaks out on an issue they agree with, up from 46% in 2016, according to a study released last week by global PR firm Weber Shandwick.

The survey found that millennials outpaced their elder peers on three metrics: awareness of CEO activism, favourability toward CEOs speaking out and likelihood of buying from a company whose CEO speaks out on hot-button issues.

Some 44% of millennials would be more loyal to their employer if the CEO took a public position on an issue, compared to 16% of Gen Xers (aged 37 to 52) and 18% of boomers (aged 53 to 71). Whereas 47% of millennials believe CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about issues that are important to society, that figure drops to 28% among Gen Xers and boomers.

"Millennials, more than other generations, expect CEOs to champion their values and influence government policies on their behalf," said Micho Spring, global corporate practice chair of Weber Shandwick. "Due to their early schooling in social media, their belief in creating social movements naturally extends beyond their networks into government circles."

For more ways for brands to play a more meaningful role in customers' lives, see Surviving Marketing Fails and Brands Take a Stand.