It hit the news like a storm over the last week: Brands Equinox and Soul Cycle have been boycotted and their members are vocal about it. Celebrities like Model Chrissy Teigen and Actor Billy Eichner fuelled the conversation and the hashtag #BoycottEquinox was brought to life.
Virality on Social Media
The call for a boycott of the Equinox and Soul Cycle because of the fundraising activities of owner Stephen Ross shows the danger of social media in an inflamed political dialogue. The latest turn is the reaction to the “… awful PR campaign to try to stop LGBTQ boycott”. As reported online, Equinox is holding a contest to pit five charities against each other to win a share of a million dollars. The catch: you can only vote if you don’t cancel your membership.
Some say all publicity is good. Others take the position that, if you take this argument to its logical consequence, all purchase decisions could take on a moral /ethical perspective.
“Cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes to my mind in this context: would you pay more, or accept an inferior product, or accept a longer drive time to support your moral position?
Preparing a Strong Response
Most important in this context, I believe, is a quick and credible response on and offline, that reflects the company’s core values. Here, best practice social media crises management is vital. This means having the right response and action in place for different scenarios. This preemptive step ensures that each team member is on the same page and a uniform and clear message is sent.
Brands can hold sessions with the stakeholders across the business, or work with a Social Media / PR agency to hold a workshop and create the right responses.