If you are a crisis consultant, 2020 was your banner year. It’s not as if we were all stuck in our houses with nothing better to do than rage tweet about some real or perceived transgression on the part of a big-name brand or celebrity. Oh, wait. That was 2020. But when we look back at the year, clearly there were societal changes that contributed to a proliferation of attacks on brand reputation.
Just because we think it’s a crisis doesn’t mean it is. There were many times during this dumpster-fire year that my heart went out to PR folks for some brand thinking, ‘Oh my god, this is a disaster.’ Yet it all went away within a few hours.
For all the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the most long-lasting may be the visibility it provided to the incredible inequalities in society and the power of empathy (or the liability of lacking it.) We got used to doctors and nurses taking to the airwaves to beg people to wear masks and get them more PPE.
Pictures of what goes on in meat packing plants horrified us, nevermind endless food lines contrasting with the very wealthy retreating to yachts and private islands. Every image on every platform showed us the chasm of disparity that is our society, all of which made tone-deaf CEOs, and their brands, fair targets for rage.
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