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A billboard featuring a portrait of NFL football player Colin Kaepernick. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

More and more people in the U.S. and worldwide believe brands should take a stand on societal issues, a report from Edelman says.

Why it matters: Public stances, from campaign ads to press releases — especially on activist issues — have effects on the public perception of a company, its future sales and even the stock market. People see brands as an important way of expressing themselves and consumers want companies to align with their core beliefs, Felix Richter, data analyst for Statista, writes.

In 2018, 64% of people worldwide say a company’s stand on societal issues affects their patronage, a 13-point bump from 2017, per Edelman.

  • In the U.S. alone, 57% are belief-driven buyers, up 10 points from 2017.
  • China has the highest belief in brands taking a stand with 78% of the population.
  • 64% say that CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for government to impose it.
  • Nearly 60% of Americans thought brands should take a position on controversial issues no matter what, rising to 83% when combined with those who wanted companies to take a stance only if it related to their products or services, according to a report from eMarketer.

The most recent controversy has been Nike signing former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.

  • Nike did take a dip in favorability — shoes were burned, merchandise was defaced —but all of Nike's online sales trended upward.

During Super Bowl LI in 2017, many companies such as Airbnb and Coca-Cola decided to use their costly 30-second time slots to denounce anti-immigration rhetoric and a wall at the Mexican-American border that President Trump promised to build.

Lyft condemned Trump’s travel ban, pledging to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union over four years. Lyft said it would “stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”