Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Corporate Response to Cancel Culture – Where We Are Now…

 

… and why we are doomed.

What follows is from the point of view of a marketing professional. It’s an article giving advice to brands that have been “canceled.” How to respond. How to stay out of trouble.

The underlying assumptions are frightening. It is taken as a given that association with Trump in particular, any Republican in general, and any viewpoint that is not woke-ist is at best “a lapse in judgment” and probably “a colossal error.”

One of the prime examples cited:

For US fitness brands Soul Cycle and Equinox, the issue was party politics – with model Chrissy Teigen urging her fans to cancel their memberships after learning that owner Stephen Ross was hosting a Donald Trump fundraiser.

The marketing/PR advice:

Some of these lapses in judgement require a fundamental change in corporate culture from the roots up …

“The core principles for managing this remain the same though,” he says. “At a very basic level these are: apologise where you can, try to get ahead of the story by acting quickly and then learn from your mistakes once the crisis is over.

The biggest issue for me in crisis situations has been when clients won’t acknowledge that they have made a colossal error,” she reveals. “They want me to find a way to calm down the comments on Twitter, as opposed to taking responsibility.

“Coming up with a bogus platitude such as ‘that Republican investor is rarely involved in the day-today business’ is just insulting to those you buy into your brand. Apologise, be specific in where you went wrong.

This is the Professional PR and marketing advice corporations are getting. It is essentially — cave-in to the mob immediately. And the underlying assumption is chilling: that so much as having a Republican investor is something to apologise for and needing correction.

Digital media, search, and social media have become the new commanding heights of the economy and society. Those critical points are controlled by the Left’s woke activists. The marketing and PR people recognise this and advise their clients accordingly. Small wonder that businesses react as they do. But it spells bad news for the rest of us. There is no counterbalancing force that I can see. Without that, this is only going to get worse. Much worse.

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  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    That advise the standard for damage control that worked well 20 years ago. I think Twitter and social media have changed things and I don’t think anyone has a found a new working formula to end bad chatter. It would be good if all PR could pull a Nancy and blame the victim and tell the press they are not to discuss this anymore.

    • #1
    • September 18, 2020, at 6:03 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. MarciN Member

    This is not a frightening civil war problem. It’s a simple marketing and image and branding problem. It can be fixed.

    We need to get the conservative movement fired up to do the work and spend the money on a massive PR campaign.

    This perception of Republicans and conservatives as rich white racists has been building up for a long time. It is imperative that we address it.

    I like what Bishop Robert Barron is doing with his Word on Fire series on the Catholic Church. The series is elegant and inspiring. He started this to attract new members and to set the record straight.

    • #2
    • September 18, 2020, at 7:38 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Charlotte Member
    CharlotteJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Why is there apparently not a single American businessperson who will, in response to a negative social media storm, shrug and say, “We are striving to provide a valuable [good or service] to our customers. We hope that our reputation for quality will speak for itself. We are blessed to live in a free country where there is more to life than politics. And that is all I have to say on the matter.”

    I don’t mean this rhetorically. Why the universal instinct (and professional advice!) to cave? Maybe the pressure really is unbearable, but you’d think someone would be able to ignore it.

    • #3
    • September 18, 2020, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Companies need to take time to know their customer base. Maybe the angry Twitter mob does represent your core customer, maybe not. Years ago they tried to cancel Chick-Fil-A for having a Christian owner. The result? Record growth for the company.

    Also, you need to gauge the scope of the outrage. Years ago people working in politics would say that a letter was worth a 100 votes. The thought being, while only one person took the time to write, there are likely 99 others who feel the same way. With Twitter that is definitely not the case. People respond to anything so maybe 100 tweets really only represents one customer or something like that. Hard to tell but the knee jerk reaction to apologize might not always be the right thing to do.

    • #4
    • September 18, 2020, at 8:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    PR departments and marketing firms can only advise. It’s the executives who hire such people and ultimately decide how to respond to unreasonable complaints or boycotts. 

    Economic freedom depends on cultural attitudes reaching far beyond business. I wonder if modern CEOs are different in character from past CEOs. 

    • #5
    • September 18, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpringJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    I don’t mean this rhetorically. Why the universal instinct (and professional advice!) to cave? Maybe the pressure really is unbearable, but you’d think someone would be able to ignore it.

    I thought the Goya response was pretty good.

    • #6
    • September 18, 2020, at 10:17 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. Charlotte Member
    CharlotteJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    I don’t mean this rhetorically. Why the universal instinct (and professional advice!) to cave? Maybe the pressure really is unbearable, but you’d think someone would be able to ignore it.

    I thought the Goya response was pretty good.

    True, that’s one welcome example of corporate backbone.

    • #7
    • September 18, 2020, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Randy Webster Member

    Ekosj: “Coming up with a bogus platitude such as ‘that Republican investor is rarely involved in the day-today business’ is just insulting to those you buy into your brand. Apologise, be specific in where you went wrong

    I love reading advice from semi-literate experts. I apologize if these are typos.

    • #8
    • September 18, 2020, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Randy Webster Member

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Why is there apparently not a single American businessperson who will, in response to a negative social media storm, shrug and say, “We are striving to provide a valuable [good or service] to our customers. We hope that our reputation for quality will speak for itself. We are blessed to live in a free country where there is more to life than politics. And that is all I have to say on the matter.”

    Unless I missed it, the CEO of Goya hasn’t caved.

    • #9
    • September 18, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Ekosj: “Coming up with a bogus platitude such as ‘that Republican investor is rarely involved in the day-today business’ is just insulting to those you buy into your brand. Apologise, be specific in where you went wrong

    I love reading advice from semi-literate experts. I apologize if these are typos.

    I am particularly repelled by the assumption that the reader will naturally agree that having a Republican investor Is a colossal error that must be apologised for and corrected immediately.

    • #10
    • September 18, 2020, at 1:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Why is there apparently not a single American businessperson who will, in response to a negative social media storm, shrug and say, “We are striving to provide a valuable [good or service] to our customers. We hope that our reputation for quality will speak for itself. We are blessed to live in a free country where there is more to life than politics. And that is all I have to say on the matter.”

    I don’t mean this rhetorically. Why the universal instinct (and professional advice!) to cave? Maybe the pressure really is unbearable, but you’d think someone would be able to ignore it.

    The Latino businessman who has that successful business of traditional Mexican foods, Goya Foods, actually came forward and openly spoke of supporting Trump.

    The Left went nuts, and their condemnation was over the top.

    It was especially weird they went nuts against him, because for one thing, he is hispanic, and supposedly they are all about supporting hispanics… Or maybe they can only support hispanics who are poor.

    Given that he often spends hundreds of thousands of dollars doing real charity: food for food banks, delivering food to poor neighborhoods, especially this summer after the riots left people in many poor neighborhoods with no grocery stores, it is puzzling they would dis him.

    In the end the conservatives went out and stripped the Safeway and other super markets bare of his products, using their money to show their support for him.

    • #11
    • September 18, 2020, at 5:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  12. Kephalithos Member

    Charlotte (View Comment): Why is there apparently not a single American businessperson who will, in response to a negative social media storm, shrug and say, “We are striving to provide a valuable [good or service] to our customers. We hope that our reputation for quality will speak for itself. We are blessed to live in a free country where there is more to life than politics. And that is all I have to say on the matter.”

    It may have something to do with the psychology of people who go into business.

    • #12
    • September 18, 2020, at 5:35 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    You want to know the real problem? The PR people are not afraid of us. Not even slightly.

    That’s why I support buycotting brands that do not cave like Goya. I have boycotted brands that went over the top – like Grubhub. I used to order from Grubhub regularly, and I stopped after their CEO said that Trump supporters did not deserve to work there.

    We should try and get a message out there that a cancel culture event is generally made up of a small group of noisy people who have short attention spans. @bryangstephens I know you did corporate consulting. If we could get a business model together based on the success of brands that do not cave, we could offer it to corporations. Trader Joes ended up sticking with the branding that people thought was problematic.

    The main things to establish are the size of the conservative and moderate population, then how outrage mobs generally fall apart if they do not get what they want, then how outrage mobs are not satisfied with most gestures. In essence, evidence supporting just waiting out the wokescolds

    • #13
    • September 19, 2020, at 1:55 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    I don’t mean this rhetorically. Why the universal instinct (and professional advice!) to cave? Maybe the pressure really is unbearable, but you’d think someone would be able to ignore it.

    I thought the Goya response was pretty good.

    Trader Joe’s didn’t cave either, which is surprising considering their typical customer base.

    • #14
    • September 19, 2020, at 4:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White MaleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    Years ago they tried to cancel Chick-Fil-A for having a Christian owner. The result? Record growth for the company.

    Friends and I still talking about going out to get hate-chicken for dinner.

     

    • #15
    • September 20, 2020, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like