This article outlines how to protect yourself or your company against cancel culture.
Previously we talked about the implications of becoming a cancel culture target and how fast your reputation can be challenged. So how do you protect yourself and your business?
The truth is that any person or brand that threatens to go against the political, scientific, or pop culture narrative will be countered with cancel culture threats. Knowing ways to protect your business, employees, and brand can make all the difference. You can start by instituting new policies for your team members and planning your PR approach.
Before we begin, a quick word of advice. Many companies believe when they are getting any sort of negative press, posts, or comments on their social media that the best practice is to shut down all their digital communications. Although it may seem like a good idea to close your Facebook page, end Twitter, and disassociate with Yelp and Google to end negative reviews, this may not be the best option. By doing this you give up all the competitive advantage that your brand has worked to create, and you will become a ghost on the internet.
Doing so also gives up any opportunity to change the narrative and have a voice in the matter. The cost involved with reviving your brand in time, money and energy is much worse than creating a proper strategy to protect yourself. You also give up one of the most cost-effective marketing opportunities available today with using social media and organic search results to propel your brand forward.
- Create policies for staff in regards to their online activities – their personal social media can reflect on the business and its reputation
- Make sure it is understood that these policies are enforceable with consequences
- If these policies are just being introduced ask employees to review their accounts for any past posts that may be found questionable
- Make sure to choose a set of company values, make them available to all and use as a company practice
- Draft a response that is professional and non-confrontational that aligns with these values
- Determine how a response will be delivered and what form of media it will take
- Plan for any reasonable scenario where your business involves itself and create potential responses
- React with an unplanned response or get personal
- Shut down any modes of communication whether digital or analog – remain transparent
- Stop posting on social media, close accounts and become a ghost on the internet – this will only create more confusion and associate guilt to the threat
- Remain quiet – but be constructive with your replies
- Continue the conversation – reply with a planned response and then leave it alone. Many companies fall into the trap of a back and forth and this will only become confrontational and destructive
Finally, the first and best response is to take it offline publicly and deal with it using private messaging. Posting a public statement such as, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “We apologize for the misunderstanding,” followed by, “Could you please provide us with your information in a private message so we can reach out and discuss this issue,” not only takes it offline but publicly states that you are aware of the concern and are trying to deal with it in a mature manner. Often this can end the situation right then and there or they will reply trying to exacerbate the issue, but in the public’s view you have responded.
This concludes our 4 Part Series on Cancel Culture. We hope this series has cleared up some of the unknowns around this bizarre and emotionally fuelled cultural trend. Remember at the end of the day to avoid reacting with emotion and instead calmly respond with a plan in place, cooler heads will prevail in the long run.
Download this resource article Cancel Culture: Part 4 – Create a Plan of Prevention (pdf).