Brand Values: Why Brands are Abandoning Affiliations with the NRA

Big name brands are distancing themselves from National Rifle Association in response to the Florida high school shooting this month. It was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history and reignited gun control movements in both the political and social spheres. As news media was flooded with images of victims calling for a change in gun laws and high school students across the country stood in solidarity with them, brands have followed suit and are now cutting ties with the NRA.

Last week, First National Bank Of Omaha announced it will not renew a contract with the NRA to issue an NRA-branded Visa card. Companies that have historically offered discounts or incentive programs to NRA members – like Hertz, Best Western and MetLife – have ended their relationship with the association and United and Delta airlines have both cut marketing ties with the NRA.

People want to feel good about how they spend their money and will often chose a product or service because they agree with a brand’s social or political stance.

This mass exodus is evidence that these brands are aware of the importance of public perception of brand values. Consumers interact with brands on many levels and have historically shown more loyalty to brands whose values align with their own. Companies like Warby Parker and Toms built a loyal customer bases by promoting their philanthropic values – donating a pair of glasses or shoes to someone in need for each one purchased. People want to feel good about how they spend their money and will often chose a product or service because they agree with a brand’s social or political stance. Brands more than ever are leveraging their values to get noticed by consumers.

Just yesterday the online dating app, Tinder launched a campaign to diversify emoji. The company held a global survey in which 52 percent of respondents felt that interracial couples were underrepresented by emoji, memes and GIFs. In response, the dating app created a 60 second video spot to promote diversity in emoji and set up a petition on Change.org so the public could join them in furthering their cause.

By putting this message out in the world Apple is inviting consumers to join them – and what better way to do that than to buy their products.

Apple is aligning itself with the message of love and equality as it launches an ad campaign in Australia to celebrate the country’s decision to approve marriage equality last December. They will be running six touching commercials that feature couples enjoying the first dance at their weddings. Not only will this campaign tug on heartstrings, but it sends a clear message that Apple values gender equality. By putting this message out in the world Apple is inviting consumers to join them – and what better way to do that than to buy their products.

Promoting brand values isn’t just for the big guys. Local brands can do this on a smaller scale through sponsorships and affiliations. We have clients in the medical industry that sponsor The Relay for Life and other health or fitness related events. A few in the financial industry are part of affiliations that lobby Washington to promote ethical lending practices. Others sponsor school events and sports teams or local charities like the Tacoma Rescue Mission. Today more than ever brands are putting their values on display, asking consumers to connect with them on a deeper level. Brands that do it well, gain market share and accolades, while building loyalty along the way.

Does your brand display the true values of your company? Do you know how to tell? If you’d like to learn more about uncovering the public perception of your brand, let’s talk. We’d love to learn about your goals and build a strategy to help you earn a loyal customers base.