Protests about tax payments have no effect

Stephan Shakespeare
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SOMETIMES no change at all can be as interesting as dramatic movements and that is certainly the case when we look at brands that have been targeted by UK Uncut over the past five months.

The protest movement has attempted to shame brands that it claims have dodged UK taxes. A series of actions began on 27 October last year when Vodafone’s Oxford Street store was closed by protesters. Similar shut-downs have occurred across the country since then and following The March for the Alternative on Saturday 26 March a number of stores including Topshop and Boots on Oxford Street were closed and Fortnum and Mason occupied.

But the net result of this action on consumer perception has been zero. If we look at five of the key brands targeted; Vodafone, Boots, Tesco and the Arcadia Group’s BHS and Topshop there has been no real movement in their corporate reputation score since the protests started with the combined score of the five being +77 back on Oct 24 and a near identical +78 this Monday.

So UK Uncut has either failed to interest people in its campaign or interested them but not moved their views of the targeted companies. The attention scores for those brands show that it is the first of those problems that they have.

Once again we see that there has been no significant change in the number of people hearing anything (either positive or negative) about the brands.

We can conclude that the actions of UK Uncut are going largely unnoticed (at least in terms of the specific brands it targets) and therefore cannot impact on the general populations’ views.

Stephan Shakespeare is chief executive of YouGov.