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Seismic Shifts: What’s Changing in Crisis?


As we gain steam in 2018, the environment for businesses is as challenging as ever – and not just in terms of dollars and cents.  More and more, companies are facing threats to their reputation that are less associated with their own bad behavior and more closely linked to seismic shifts in where and how the public aims its frustration.

Although the list could go on and on, there are a few particular difficulties that companies should expect to struggle with, regardless of the type of business they engage in or the industry in which they operate.

  • Outrage as Social Currency

On social media, people display outrage and attempt to garner support as a type of currency.  Essentially, people target companies with their frustrations and anger to gain favor with others who may either feel similarly or have had similar experiences.

  • Political Sensitivities Creating Heightened Corporate Scrutiny

This is not a new phenomenon — the nation is deeply divided in a way that goes above and beyond traditional party lines.  Companies have always fallen in and out of favor among some based on their political lean.  However, the ability for a tweet from the President – whether in favor of or against a company – to dramatically and suddenly impact the bottom line and their reputation is altogether a new terrain.  Ask Cisco, Chipotle, General Motors or Ford, to name a few.

  • Society’s Litigious Nature

Frivolous lawsuits and the public’s desire to take a “pound of flesh” when they feel they’ve been wronged by a brand is nothing new.  It may be less publicized, but that won’t stop this phenomenon from increasing in the year ahead.

  • Fake News, Clickbait, and Programmatic Advertising

Internet culture can easily place a brand in the midst of a whole host of questionable material.  Even with careful whitelisting, there is a perception that a brand is endorsing the sites where it appears – although more often than not it’s marketing technology feeding content to users.  Special interest groups are popping up and taking aim with surprising aggression.

These shifts and more have led to the launch of Zeno Seismic, a Zeno offering which takes a new and integrated approach to crisis and issues management.  It blends Zeno’s proven and experienced crisis strategy with cutting edge digital and insights-driven tools.  Beyond just tracking and analyzing, our tools help us operate in real-time to better anticipate outcomes, as well as inform decision-making for crafting materials and messages.