A more modern academic, Brayden King from Northwestern, has pointed to the effectiveness of targeting a company's image, and not necessarily aiming to affect or decrease sales. His work speaks to the confluence of corporate standing, media attention and declining sales. He finds that a boycott will exert the most influence when there is a lot of media attention on it. However, declining sales have an insignificant bearing on the success of the boycott. The most important thing to target is corporate reputation. A company with a weak reputation is more likely to cede to boycott demands, whereas a company with a strong reputation is not likely to be affected, regardless of sales levels.
Here is a laundry list of items to think about when organising a successful boycott:
- Have a clear issue - keep them cognitively simple and emotionally appealing
- Have a visible target - like...BP! Or not...??
- Have clear alternatives to the boycotted products - when the Rainforest Action Network boycotted Burger King because of their "rainforest beef," people not only boycotted Burger King, but supported their competitors McDonald's and Wendy's. (I know, it's still sad.)
- Make sure the violations are visible - Violations are visible in our kitchens, sidewalks and countrysides, and on highways. Check!
- Have an organised effort - although many personal boycotts can have the effect of an organised one
What does a pile of plastic bottles from just one section (of about 33) of a UM American football game look like?
but Samantha is super cute.