Well, here we go. Candidates are in place, VPs picked, TV ads have started rolling and the conventions…or some semblance of them…are kicking off. Constituent passions, already running high, will only elevate. With recent global and national events, numerous new topics will be a part of the conversation in a way they never have before, as the public not only tunes into election discussions from an interest standpoint… but wearing their values and emotions on their sleeve.
We’ve launched 2020 Election HQ as a tool for constituents, consumers, brands and media to leverage in understanding:
- How conversations are emerging and trending on top elections topics
- Who is most heavily influencing those conversations
- How authentic the conversation is trending
- Top related narratives…both trending and emerging…and who is driving them
It’s not just the topics that look different this election versus 2016, the electorate itself will look quite different.
The 2020 election will include a greater percentage of non-white voters and the first wave of Gen Z voters. Per Pew Research, Baby Boomers and older generations, who will be ages 56 and older next year, are expected to account for fewer than four-in-ten eligible voters in 2020. This is a significant change from 2000, when nearly seven-in-ten eligible voters (68%) were Boomers, Silents or members of the Greatest Generation (collectively, those ages 36 and older at the time).
These shifts mean a greater diversity in topics that matter, as well as an evolution in how they are talked about it. Younger and more digitally native voters are already more substantially affecting public opinion and leveraging the internet and their networks in new ways to reinforce their ideals and opinions. We are actually exploring this topic in more depth with leading Gen Z and Millennials research, Jason Dorsey of the Center for Generational Kinetics.
This year, we are also seeing brands and their associated spokespeople pulled into election-related conversations very frequently. With divisiveness over responses to the global pandemic, the social justice movement and the election, brands are being coerced to both clarify where they stand on topics, yet also being taken to task on whether their actions match their words. Today’s online audience is adept at finding the gaps, and yes, they will “cancel” if they don’t like what they see.
For instance, in some recent narratives about labor groups in China (specifically, the Uyghurs), both Nike and Lebron James have been accused of projecting an image of equality, yet leveraging labor in China some deem as “slave labor.” Additionally, business after business continues to be called out for their response to Covid-19 face mask regulations while others are associated with disagreements over adherence to guidelines happening on their store floors.
For brands, knowing how to react…or not…in these impassioned conversations is hard.
Making it even tougher is the growing knowledge that conversations like these are sometimes being manipulated in new ways. For instance, the conversation around the Uyghur labor group is also one of the conversations we are seeing trend most inauthentically, with a disproportionate amount of the conversation being controlled by two factions. In this instance, a brand would want to make sure they are familiar with those faction, understand their platform and intentions, and be able to weigh this intelligence as they determine whether to respond, ignite allies to their defense or possibly just let the conversation play out. The calls get tougher to make as platforms expand and people invent new ways to spread their ideas and narratives.
We hope you will stay tuned to Election HQ throughout this election season. Reach out if there is any topic you’d like to go deeper on or if you’d like to ask about a topic we’re not yet reporting on!