Companies face all kinds of crises, but it has been a while since brands have had to add a new category to the list. In addition to financial, technological and natural crises, crises of deception, workplace violence, self-inflicted crises and crises of malevolence, companies now have to contend with the possibility of a Donald Trump crisis.
Crisis experts are already talking about the Trump crisis, which companies face when the U.S. president takes aim at a company, usually through a tweet. Some argue that speed matters in a company’s response. Golin Corporate Communications president Scott Farrell told The New York Times: “The only thing that applies, no matter what the issue, is speed. Slow kills companies fast in a Twitter conversation.” Still, some companies have opted for more circumspect responses.
The fact is, an attack on a business by the leader of the free world is uncharted territory, and an attack coming from Trump is worse than if one coming from, say, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman or Woodrow Wilson. Trump has an army of trolls poised to attack companies that he targets or that articulate anything that might be construed as in opposition to his agenda. The consequences can range from a hit to share price to a flurry of fake news stories to calls for boycotts.
Trump’s motives for leveling attacks on companies are anybody’s guess. Some suggest that he goes after companies against which he harbors a grudge. His tweet taking on Boeing came a mere 20 minutes after Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg mildly criticized the then-president-elect’s rhetoric on China. One writer wonders if someone might be profiting from Trump’s attacks mere moments before he launches one, noting that a rant aimed at Lockheed Martin came only six minutes after someone dumped shares in the company,...
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