If you haven’t yet learned from the messes The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Netflix, Bank of America, Verizon and now Burning Man have created for themselves, it’s time to wake up. I’m surprised to see businesses and organizations that have spent so much time building their brands and reputations make such drastic decisions that they know consumers won’t like.
Today a company’s bad decision can ignite an immediate firestorm that can spread across the interwebs as quickly as a tornado can ruin a city. Boards and CEOs in charge of such decisions should consider every possibility for backlash. Hindsight is always 20/20, but with enough of these examples in the past 12 months, I would expect that every organization would thoughtfully gauge the opinions of its target consumer before deciding on a new course that could permanently damage the brand.
Today’s announcement by the Susan G. Komen foundation to reverse its decision was not a surprise. Netflix, Bank of America and Verizon reversed bad decisions on the same timeline. Will it be enough to earn back the trust of the consumer? We’ll see. I know the company has lost mine.
It remains to be seen if Burning Man will be able to come back from its ticket lottery fiasco. My recommendation? Apologize now. Admit you made the wrong decision. Invite the community to share its ideas on how to fix what’s been done. Share what was learned and take action quickly.
I feel lucky to be living in an era where my voice online can have even more power than my vote. I’ll continue using my power as a consumer. I hope you do too.