Most brands are understandably wary of aligning themselves with political issues but new data from Morning Consult indicates that brands should consider saying something about the current protests sweeping the US or risk being viewed negatively by consumers.

A survey carried out among 1,990 US adults between May 31 and June 1 found that, among both black and white consumers, more people than not said that if a company declined to make an official statement about the protests, that would cause them to see a brand in a less favorable light.

An earlier survey from Morning Consult (run between May 29 and June 1) also found 54% of US adults — including 69% of Democrats, 49% of independents and 39% of Republicans — support the ongoing protests in response to the death of George Floyd and other black Americans.

The president is now threatening to send in the army to quell the unrest, but in recent days large tech, entertainment and apparel brands have all issued statements in support of racial equality.

For example, Twitter, the channel for most of Trump’s bile, which it felt necessary to restrict following one of the president’s posts about shooting looters, on the grounds that it broke rules about glorifying violence, has now changed its bio to read #BlackLivesMatter.

That same post remains on Facebook, however, following a personal intervention by CEO Mark Zuckerberg that led to a “virtual walkout” of hundreds of staff on Monday – a response that highlights the risks of a business doing nothing, not just from consumers but from their own employees.

In that context, what got some of the most public support in the Morning Consult survey related to the messages business leaders convey to both employees and consumers: 69% said it’s important to mention the death of George Floyd in company messages responding to the demonstrations.

And roughly two-thirds said they find it appropriate for CEOs (68%) and executives (65%) to share messages about the demonstration. Those actions found more support than if a statement was put out by a brand spokesperson (64%) or its social media account (52%).

Sourced from Morning Consult, Guardian; additional content by WARC staff