Recent years have seen the “cancellations” of brands such as Goya Foods, after executives made pro-Trump remarks two years ago, and Aunt Jemima, which was rebranded to Pearl Milling Co. last year in an effort to remove branding based on a racial stereotype. As Proulx noted, many celebrities have also fallen out of favor with their followers. Chrissy Teigen, for example, was “canceled” last year after accounts emerged of her cyberbullying.
According to Forrester, 55% of US online adults are willing to boycott a brand if that brand “intentionally has unethical business practices,” and 53% will boycott over employee mistreatment.
But there are strategies brands can take to improve when faced with boycotts and public negativity.
Forrester advises that companies “own up to mistakes,” and found that 41% of consumers would return to a brand that makes an apology and concedes it was wrong. Brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben took such concessions a step further with brand overhauls. Companies can also make sure they are “indispensable” and so critical to a consumer that a boycott is out of the question. Lastly, Forrester found that brands should “uphold company values,” as 22% of adult consumers would boycott a brand that does not share their values.