From The Rock

Combating cancel culture

By | January 20, 2021

Cancel culture – what is it? With the rise of social media and the power it has on a brand’s reputation, the idea of cancel culture has entered our mainstream vocabulary. It’s the social “cancellation” of any brand, product, figurehead or company you disagree with or who has wronged you. Think of it as a modern form of mob rule. 

When a consumer has a mission to “cancel” your brand by expressing public disgust online, you’re going to face implications that you’ll need to combat. In an age when businesses are one tweet away from being canceled by their customer base, you have to place a major focus on your purpose-driven PR efforts. If you aren’t concerned about online brand management in the era of cancel culture…you should be! The potential downfall of your brand’s reputation can be avoided if you plan for it. 

Build consumer trust online 

From the start, work to establish a culture of candor, authenticity and sincerity among your audiences. If your business does run into trouble, your followership will be more willing to defend and stand by your brand. Social media is a two-way street for communication that can be used to engage your target audiences. These interactions help build brand trust and form a loyal community around your brand. Take advantage of this. 

Establish a brand management strategy 

Mitigate risk before a crisis occurs. Your brand management strategy should include guidelines around your brand image and brand message, as well as your plan of action if your brand’s reputation is questioned. If your strategy isn’t performing the way you had hoped, don’t be afraid to “cancel” your brand before someone else has the chance to. It’s better to pivot and proactively address your strategy than to be called out for your mistakes. Brand makeovers and key messaging overhauls are common – especially in the ever-changing digital landscape we’re living in. 

Respond, respond respond 

Whether it’s a comment on your Instagram post, a review on Yelp or direct message through your website, you always want to craft a response to negative posts online. Before responding, take time to really look at the content of the review. As much as we love to think our business is operating the best it can, this reviewer left these comments for a reason. Take note of the points that may have some merit and course correct. When you’re called out online, the best thing you can do for your brand’s reputation is to admit when you’re wrong and turn your words into action.  

As a PR professional, I’ll be the first to admit that managing a brand’s online presence in the age of cancel culture is no small feat – it requires unique insight into brand strategy. If your company needs assistance maintaining your online reputation, Obsidian is one call away!