Public opinion is a complex and ever-changing phenomenon, often influenced by current events, trends and information. Indeed, there are many examples of the malleability of public opinion.
Leroy Merlin, a wonderful and innovative company…
The news of Agathe Monpays’ appointment as General Manager of Leroy Merlin on September 1, 2023, at just 28 years of age, is currently circulating widely on professional networks. This choice was seen as a bold and innovative move, breaking with the traditional codes of a conservative family group like Mulliez. The decision was well received by the public, and drew praise for its spirit of openness and modern family tradition.
…or to be boycotted.
But this high-profile news completely erased the previous altercation with Leroy Merlin (just 1 year ago), when they chose to maintain their business in Russia after the Russian attack in Ukraine, it provoked a reaction of public outrage. Calls for a boycott multiplied on social networks and in certain circles. Public opinion expressed its dissatisfaction with the company’s decision to continue doing business against a backdrop of international crisis.
Fluctuating opinion in the fashion industry
These effects are very similar to “fashion effects”, as they are short-lived and constantly changing trends.
The fashion industry is another area where public opinion is particularly fickle. Fashion brands can be lauded for their collections for some time, before suffering a sudden fall in popularity. Consumers are often influenced by the trends of the moment, and can switch from one brand to another in the blink of an eye. This volatility of public opinion can have a significant impact on fashion companies, who must constantly adapt to keep up. For example, the American brand was extremely popular with young people in the 2000s. However, after accusations of discrimination in the recruitment of its employees and criticism of its stereotypical body image, its popularity took a turn for the worse and many consumers turned their backs on Abercrombie & Fitch.
Today, the brand is making strategic changes in an attempt to win back consumers. It has revised its image, diversified its product range and adopted a more inclusive approach. However, despite these efforts, Abercrombie & Fitch’s popularity has never recovered, illustrating the volatility of public opinion in the fashion industry.
Economic and political scandals forgotten:
History is replete with examples of public opinion’s striking amnesia, particularly in the economic sphere.
In Europe, the Dieselgate affair is a perfect illustration of this, and has also had an impact on global politics. In 2015, it was revealed that several European carmakers, including Volkswagen, had manipulated emissions tests to make their diesel vehicles appear less polluting than they really were for export to the USA.
The revelation provoked widespread public outrage, with consumers feeling cheated and betrayed by the auto industry. Calls for strict measures and sanctions were widespread. Over time, however, attention faded and amnesia took over.
Despite the initial repercussions of Dieselgate, the European automotive industry continued to prosper and regain consumer confidence. Sales of diesel cars did not fall significantly, and automakers adopted measures to comply with stricter emissions standards. Over the years, the initial outrage has been largely forgotten, and carmakers have been able to rebuild a positive image, particularly with the arrival of “green” cars.
This raises questions about the responsibility of political and economic players in preserving transparency and integrity, as well as the need for continued vigilance on the part of the public to avoid falling into collective oblivion.
Propaganda, advertising or simply political campaigns will draw on these facts in order to have an effect and modulate a certain public opinion.
That’s why it’s essential to take a step back and adopt a critical approach to sudden changes in opinion and ephemeral trends. By understanding the mechanisms that influence public opinion, we can avoid collective amnesia and adopt a more thoughtful, balanced perspective.