Cancel Culture: Part 1 – What is Cancel Culture?

Threats and Solutions to Protect Your Brand

4 mins read

This article explains what cancel culture is and what to expect when you hear the term.

There are many companies and brands that are learning the hard way that at a moment’s notice their reputation can be smeared and, in a sense, cancelled. Cancel culture is happening to businesses of every size, impacting companies’ cultures, financials and creating legal concerns; it is even costing employees their jobs. This can happen without any relevant proof that an indiscretion has occurred. How your company prepares and protects itself today can make the difference between feeling powerless from accusations to empowered and ready to weather the storm with a plan. Don’t get caught unaware.

What is Cancel Culture?

Through all the different forms of communication today it seems that brands are being canceled everywhere. Issues ranging from supporting or not supporting the Prime Minister Trudeau to anything environmental. Increased racial tensions and the ongoing COVID mask controversy are some of the recent factors that have led to brand cancellations of popular public figures and corporate executives. The problem is that it is a moving target where there is no reason to the criteria for cancellation. Essentially, if someone is offended, they can attack you.

An actual definition of the term is: “The act of canceling a brand, influential person, public figure, people in power/politicians or company that you disagree with. When a brand is canceled, support is withdrawn, and consumers spend their money with competitors if the brand or company has said something offensive. The brand is canceled through online shaming on social media platforms and the recipient is held to account.”

The important fact to recognize is that you can be cancelled without any actual evidence. So, even if the information can be proven false, they can start a campaign of public shaming that gains a following.

Countless individuals have lost their entire livelihood from University professors to private individuals on Facebook who shared or said something innocently and had it blown up to another level. I saw an example where an individual stated, “All Lives Matter,” during a commentary on,” Black Lives Matter,” and he faced an entire tribunal on his “White Privilege” as he was publicly shamed as a White Supremacist. These are serious allegations with no ability for defense. He was later dismissed from his job because his employer did not know what to do about the situation.

With so many current examples it is important to begin thinking about how this could affect your business, because it may not only harm your brand’s reputation and PR, personnel and financial consequences could be a reality.

This is why it is extremely important to implement a social media policy with your employees, not only for the company social but to also include their own personal social accounts. If they are representatives of your company and their views do not align with yours then you need a policy about what they can and can’t post personally.

Look for Cancel Culture – Part 2 as we discuss why cancel culture is happening.

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