Swiftly disconnecting themselves from Roseanne Barr’s racial and political views, ABC’s wise decision to cancel her show and talent agency ICM Partners‘ good judgment to no longer represent her is a significant sign that employers are keenly aware of how talent can negatively impact their brand and business.
Brand busters aren’t just celebrities. Starbucks recently scrambled to manage a public relations crisis when an employee in Philadelphia called police because two black men asked to use the bathroom before placing an order. Although Nick Setyan, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan said closing 8,000 stores for bias training only cost about $7 million in comparison to the expected $24.4 million in revenues, what isn’t accounted for is the bruise on Starbucks’ brand. A bruise that costs millions to manage consumer, employee and current and potential franchisee perceptions.
While freedom of speech was established to give a person the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint, organizational leaders are moving promptly to respond to employee values and credibility disconnects as a result of protests that can go viral and make a huge dent in sales and a company’s brand message.
With privilege and power comes responsibility. Social media is a tool available to all of us to become influencers who shape an interconnected global society. Yes, Roseanne Barr is out of a job but so are cast members and other professionals who worked on the show.
When we “speak our mind” we impact the lives of people we love and work with and for. Before your next tweet, post or live video remember the following:
1. There are real people on social media. Just because you are alone when you post a comment doesn’t mean that real people aren’t going to read it, be impacted by it and respond accordingly.
2. Companies have a brand to protect first. An organization’s first priority is protecting and preserving their brand. If a network will cancel a show with 25 million viewers, I assure you, your value proposition isn’t worth saving either.
3. Don’t underestimate your impact. Recruiters check out your posts and employers do too. Don’t let you personal views with people override your common sense to be an effective, respectful communicator.
Copyright 2018 S. Renee Smith. S. Renee is a self-esteem, branding and communications expert, coach, speaker and author. She is available for development workshops to help employees understand how they can build and protect the organization’s brand message while increasing their value proposition. For more information visit srenee.com. Or call 888-588-0423.