Living in a community surrounded by gas stations labeled with the BP name (I pass three such stations just on the short drive home from the gym), I've heard plenty of conversations about whether BP would really feel the sting of a boycott of its products.
Gavan Fitzsimons, a professor of marketing and psychology at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, understands the feeling. He, too, has cruised by BP stations in the weeks since the spill. I caught up with him to talk about the effect of boycotting BP and what concerned citizens should think about this whole question.
"Even if everybody decided to boycott, it's probably not going to have a big impact on BP," says Fitzsimons. The real impact, he said, is down the line. What matters is whether, in 20 years, people still get the heebie-jeebies when they think about BP. "In the long run, it will be this sort of permanent taint that will be associated with the corporation."
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