According to Wikipedia.com, cancel culture is a form of “shunning or boycotting” an individual based on their egregious behavior or controversial statement. Undoubtedly you’ve heard of celebrities being “cancelled” and falling victim to cancel culture, but what about companies? Yes, companies have also gotten caught up in cancel culture. Look no further than your breakfast table and you’ll find examples of companies and brands such as Goya Foods, Aunt Jemima (Pearl Milling Co.), and Cream of Wheat that have recently faced such backlash.
Being prepared is a company’s best defense when it comes to cancel culture. First and foremost, hear your customer clearly and assess the gravity of the situation. Never underestimate the power and reach of social media. Baby boomers may mistakenly view social media as frivolous; however, it is important to actively monitor your social media for customer complaints. Addressing customer complaints quickly and properly is imperative. Using social media to solicit solutions from customers is a great way to show customers that you care and you’re listening.
Second, consider all the ways your message could be interpreted. This is one of the reasons diversity is important. Despite your intent, your message can be interpreted differently by others based on their life experiences and beliefs. Draw on your team’s diversity for feedback.
And finally, mistakes are bound to happen. But it is important to quickly address errors and accept responsibility. Offer an empathetic and genuine apology alongside your plan for improvement or prevention.
Now, let’s go out there and make it a great day!