It seems as though there is a growing shift in the marketplace as several businesses that have jumped onto the ‘wokeness’ bandwagon are seeing a drastic plunge in their sales. According to recent reports, companies that have publicly adopted or endorsed ‘woke’ ideologies have seen an average decline in their sales by up to 80%.
The term ‘woke,’ originally an African American Vernacular English term for awareness of social and political injustices, has become a common word in the mainstream lexicon. However, it has been leveraged in recent years by corporations as a marketing strategy to attract a younger, more diverse audience.
The ‘wokeness’ strategy typically includes public declarations of support for various social justice causes, diversified hiring practices, and inclusive marketing campaigns. However, these efforts seem to be backfiring as consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of companies’ motivations behind these public acts of ‘wokeness.’
One of the most notable cases is that of Bud Light. The beer giant aligned itself with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, releasing a limited edition can that sparked a nationwide boycott of Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products. The boycott resulted in a whopping sales drop of 23.9% ahead of Memorial Day compared to the same period the previous year.
Similarly, Target’s CEO’s public admission of the company’s ‘wokeness’ stirred controversy among customers. Despite maintaining its position, Target experienced a drop in sales as customers who disagreed with the company’s stance started to patronize other retail stores.
The case is not confined to the beverage or retail industry; even tech companies are facing similar consequences. Major tech firms that have publicly embraced ‘wokeness,’ like Twitter and Facebook, have seen declines in active users and ad revenues.
It’s clear that while ‘wokeness’ might have been seen as a positive marketing strategy a few years ago, consumers are now scrutinizing these companies and their motives. Many customers feel that businesses should stick to their primary roles—providing goods and services—rather than venturing into the world of social and political activism.
Moreover, critics argue that ‘wokeness’ in business often seems performative and insincere. They believe that while companies might publicly align themselves with various social justice causes, their internal practices do not always reflect these values.
The 80% sales decline that these ‘woke’ companies are experiencing serves as a wake-up call. While it is important for companies to be aware of social issues and promote diversity and inclusion, they must do so authentically. Consumers are smart and can differentiate between companies that genuinely care about social justice issues and those that are merely using ‘wokeness’ as a marketing ploy.
In conclusion, the fall in sales that these ‘woke’ companies are experiencing may just be the beginning of a bigger shift. Businesses need to understand their audience and realize that taking a political stance may not always be the best strategy for their bottom line. As the ‘wokeness’ trend continues to lose its luster, it will be interesting to see how companies adjust their strategies moving forward.