July 5, 2022

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Gartner Marketing Survey Finds 60% of U.S. Consumers Believe Brands Should Reconsider Doing Business in Russia

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Sixty percent of U.S. consumers believe that brands should reconsider doing business in Russia or partnering with Russian companies in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Gartner, Inc.

A Gartner survey of 281 consumers based in the U.S. between February 25 and March 1, 2022 found that nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers are concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and as a result, see several potential actions for companies that operate in the U.S. to take.

“This is a signal that CMOs who focus on the U.S. market must consider consumer expectations for corporate response,” said Kate Muhl, vice president analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “Doing so will provide a roadmap for protecting their companies’ reputations. It will also surface opportunities to demonstrate core values and build brand trust at a time of heightened awareness and sensitivity.

“However, our findings also show that while U.S. consumers want businesses to take concrete action, they’re not eager to hear about it directly from those businesses yet. Marketers should focus first on developing a compelling storyline about company activities, so teams are ready to take action when consumers do become more open to hearing from brands about actions they’ve taken.”

Consumers are much more sophisticated now in their thinking about the way that business operations impact society. Most of them see multiple paths for corporate response, in categories that line up with top, specific consumer worries about the war.

After reconsidering doing business in Russia, or with Russian companies, consumers’ top priorities for actions that companies should take include ensuring the safety of their employees and personnel who are in the war zone (55%), preparing emergency plans to ensure that anybody connected to their organization is safe (46%) and minimizing disruptions that would lead to consumer good shortages or price increases (46%).

Consumers Identify Specific Concerns of Impact

Seven out of 10 consumers rated their level of concern about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at a four or five, where five is extremely concerned. Four out of 10 consumers rate their concern for potential personal impact of the conflict with a four or five (where five is extremely concerned).

Consumers identified fuel or energy prices going up as their top concern (60%), followed by safety/wellbeing of people outside the U.S. (56%) and cyberattacks against U.S. entities (56%).

While consumer expectations are likely to shift as the crisis continues to unfold, now is the time for marketers to assess the Ukraine-relevant exposure, and any actions their companies are taking. In addition to building compelling storylines about company activities, Gartner suggests the following near-term actions for marketers to consider in the wake of Russia invading Ukraine:

  • Review and pressure test existing plans, especially in relevant categories like travel or whose brands have associations with the region. Few consumers say they want brands to stop or reduce advertising at this stage of the conflict.

  • Direct teams to vary the topics and tone of social posts and other messages. The smartest brand strategies acknowledge and accommodate this diversity of concerns.

  • Consider the brand’s audience: differences in degree of concern and key concerns can be seen along demographic lines, which may warrant differentiated strategies.

Additional information is available to Gartner for Marketers clients in the report: Russian Invasion of Ukraine: U.S. Consumer Expectations for Brand Response.

About the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo

Gartner analysts will discuss the key issues facing CMOs during the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, taking place virtually May 23-25, 2022. This conference provides marketing leaders actionable advice about the trends, tools and emerging technologies they need to deliver business results. Gartner analysts address the biggest opportunities, challenges and priorities marketers face today, including data and analytics, customer experience, content marketing, customer insight, marketing technology (martech) and multichannel marketing. Follow news and updates for the event on Twitter at #GartnerMKTG.

About Gartner for Marketers

Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice, and proven tools that CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and to stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at www.gartner.com/marketing. Follow news and updates from the Gartner Marketing practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerMKTG. Members of the media can find additional information and insights in the Gartner Marketing Newsroom.


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