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4 Ways Businesses Can Survive Cancel Culture

As a brand thriving in the age of social media, two things can be frightening: (1) knowing your brand is trending on Twitter and Facebook and (2) seeing the word “canceled” attached to it.

Cancel culture is pervasive these days, and whether you agree to it or not doesn’t matter. The call for boycott and the negative image can hurt your business in many ways.

How do you survive it? Here are the best tips from the experts:

1. Work with a Media Relations Team

How can a professional media relations strategy help you when people are trying to cancel you?

  • You can deliver a unified, brand-centric message to your audience. You don’t want to confuse your market, who could use the disconnection against you.
  • You can still have time to focus on other aspects of the business. Dealing with the press and the backlash can be a nightmare, and it can demand a lot of time and attention.
  • You can rely on your team’s connection with the press. They know the people to approach to help you send the right message.

2. Don’t React Right Away

It’s normal to be defensive when people are attacking your brand. However, Sun Tzu made it clear in hits principles of the art of war that recklessness can only result in destruction. The “enemy” can defeat you conveniently by using the very defense you use.

In every crisis, urgency is a necessity, but so is rationality. Instead of reacting immediately, consider doing the following:

  • Take a moment to answer. If you’re working with a professional media relations team, you know when to speak.
  • Use the pause as a time to reflect. Know where the negative sentiments are coming from. Are they coming from the ad’s message, or is there a more deep-seated issue?

team huddle

3. Know Your Brand by Heart

Cancel culture flourishes because the market these days demands transparency and accountability from the businesses they support. They want to know if yours align with their values.

It can be a significant problem when you don’t know your brand by heart. The voice of the mob can quickly bury yours. You’ll end up apologizing every time they feel you made a mistake, and you will be more frightened to launch marketing campaigns because you don’t want the backlash.

Missing or lost brand identity can also affect your organization negatively. It demoralizes your employees and increases tension in the workplace.

Meanwhile, when you know your brand, you can:

  • Offer the right response to negative comments or complaints
  • Craft the message that targets or influences your ideal audience
  • Find ways to correct people’s misconceptions about your business

4. Be Careful in Expressing People’s Opinions

For the first time, the Academy Awards went hostless in 2019. Kevin Hart, who was initially tapped to do the job, came under fire because of his homophobic tweets that went back nearly 10 years ago.

For most people, you and everyone else around you, from your employees to your family, are not individuals but a part of the brand. They can associate your opinion with that of the company.

This doesn’t mean you cannot express your views anymore, but you need to tread lightly. Practice proper media communications.

As long as you’re around, you run the risk of people trying to cancel your brand at some point. Fortunately, you might not be able to run away from it, but you can control its impact.


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