You know I try to avoid politics here. You get enough of that everywhere else.
Our job is to be objective and unemotional, even if I occasionally show my cards on things like LGBTQ issues or gender equality. Otherwise, you don’t really care who I voted for and I don’t really care for you to know. That’s our deal.
But some weeks—like this one—politics is impossible to avoid. It’s permeating everything. And even if you don’t obsessively watch CNN or Fox News or hang on the president’s every tweet, you should be obsessing over how the socio-political landscape is affecting your business.
Because it is. Even if you can’t see it yet.
Here’s what we’re seeing for you:
Over one-third of Americans do not believe ABC should have fired Roseanne. And—hold on to your hats—the numbers broke almost entirely based on political ideology. 83% of Democrats agreed with ABC’s decision. Only 23% of Republicans agreed. Here’s the thing: If one of your employees ever authors a tweet like Roseanne did, you should fire them. Because even if you weren’t offended by the content of her words, be offended by the stupidity. Our job as leaders is to protect our companies and our teams from that kind of recklessness. Sadly, when 37% of people defend Roseanne’s comment, it tells me that tribalism is destroying common sense.
Sticking with TV—and, coincidentally, ABC—tribalism may also be killing the entire concept of American Idol. I came up with all of this research on my own, basically because I’ve loved American Idol since it started. Also, it’s my company and I get to study whatever I want, so stop judging. Anyway, you should read the full article yourself because it has serious implications for advertisers. The basic premise is that, as AI’s ratings have plummeted over the years, different demographic and psychographic groups left the show at a faster rate than others. This has led to certain contestants being at a significant disadvantage during the nationwide voting portion of the show. Spoiler alert: Political ideology is one of the culprits.
Dick’s Sporting Goods reported surging sales numbers this quarter, pretty much like we told you would happen. The business press reported THIS on Thursday. We surmised THIS in late February. I’m not saying it to gloat (at least not entirely) but to remind you that underneath all of this political madness, everything is still a numbers game. Dick’s had way more headroom to grow among Liberals and Moderates than downside among Conservatives.
For similar mathematical reasons, I bet Starbucks bounces back from the Philadelphia bathroom incident. I know we reported that things looked kind of bleak immediately after the controversy. Then we started to see brand sentiment improve slightly in May. I saw an article from a few years ago that said approximately 20% of U.S. adults live more than 20 miles from the nearest Starbucks. And, roughly 28% of U.S. adults voted for Donald Trump. I’m fairly certain the overlap between those groups is non-trivial. I could probably prove that but I’m not going to expend the energy. Starbucks will be just fine.
OK. Now for some useful apolitical findings:
We are entering the age of the side-hustle and that’s cool. Nearly 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Xers report having some secondary source of income (think Uber, Airbnb, etc.) beyond their day job. On one hand, those people are more likely to have student debt, which implies they’re working extra gigs out of necessity and that sucks. But surprisingly, those side-hustlers were far more likely than non-hustlers to report higher degrees of overall happiness. Who knew?
Thrift stores are making a comeback and it feels like 1992 again. 36% of U.S. consumers now say that they shop for clothing second-hand or at thrift stores, reminding me it’s about time to replenish my flannel shirt collection. The biggest growth category for second-hand apparel retail is – you guessed it – the male, Gen X crowd. I hope I can find some Pearl Jam T-shirts…
Some Random (Friendly) Stats of the Week
- 39% of people say they have more than one best friend, 22% have only one, 39% don’t have someone they consider their best friend;
- 32% of people say that their best friend is a friend from childhood;
- 29% of people are NOT friends with their neighbors;
- 50% of people say they wonder if their friends are really their friends (That’s so sad!);
- 41% of people say they have “overly needy” friends (probably some of the 50% above);
- 12% of people celebrate friend-aversaires (definitely some of the 50% above).
Just so you know, you are all my friends.
Have an awesome weekend.