Cancel culture – a targeted effort to boycott or silence an opposing viewpoint – is not something that affects only the rich and famous. Anyone can become the focus of an angry internet mob and suddenly find that their reputation and livelihood are at stake. Knowing what to do if this happens is key to coming out intact on the other side.

A careful consideration of your life, your business, and your area of expertise can provide clues and indicators that suggest from where a cancel culture attack is most likely to emerge. The process for building a cancel culture plan is similar to developing a detailed crisis communications plan. Knowing what to do and reacting quickly are important when it comes to an online attack. Because with the internet, rumors and lies can be shared with lightning speed and a minor annoyance can morph into a huge reputational problem if nothing is done. 

Create a Crisis PR Plan

Having a plan of action in place before you need one is like insurance. No one wants to pay for it but everyone is glad to have it when a something bad happens and you need the insurance to make you whole.

 The very first step in creating a plan for weathering a cancel culture assault is to set aside the notion that something like this could never happen to you. That is a dangerous mentality based on wishful thinking rather than reality; pursue this course of action at your own risk. To deny the very real possibility of terrible things happening, or to avoid even considering them, is a natural psychological reaction rooted in fear. 

Proactive Planning is Critical for Survival

A tactic called “doxing” is often employed by cancel culture “vultures.” It’s a term that describes seeking and publicly sharing someone’s personal identifying information, such as an address or phone number of you or your employer. With these details, those who wish you ill are in a powerful position to do major harm. Once your mobile phone number is made public, you can expect a steady stream of hateful, vengeful, and in some cases shocking and frightening phone calls and texts. 

Do you know what you would do if that happened to you?  Business owners or executives must have a business continuity plan in place to survive. An organization’s leadership team should have a crisis plan in place to protect the fundamental infrastructure that enables the company to function. 

Cancel Culture Could Happen to You

Knowing what is being said about you or your brand in time of crisis is essential. Are the comments getting progressively worse or is the firestorm likely to pass? You won’t know if you aren’t keeping track. 

Social media monitoring software is much more powerful and can prove to be a worthy investment. Numerous options exist in the market today, with a range of capabilities from simply alerting you to news stories to producing detailed charts and graphs with sophisticated metrics. This monitoring software tends to be expensive but can save you enormous amounts of time because it is constantly scouring major social media sites in order to better understand what conversations are taking place. 

However, there are also free alternatives including various Google alerts, which can be tailored related to a company’s brand name and other keywords related to their industry. Directions for putting these kind of alerts in place are easy to understand and can be found online.

Plan for the Worst

If you find yourself under reputational-damaging fire, having an alternate phone at the ready from which you can make and receive calls and messages may be wise. If you are not ready to go out today and buy that cheap, secondary phone—often referred to as a “burner”—then at least know of a nearby store where you can acquire and activate one quickly. One advantage to securing and setting up the phone in advance is that you can transfer your contacts to it ahead of time and even share that number with a select group of your family members and most trusted friends. 

A good practice is to have a hard copy printout containing the names and contact details for the people most vital to preserving your livelihood. This list may include your boss, manager, direct reports, your attorney, your spouse or life partner, and any other people on whom you know you can rely completely in a time of need. Since fear is a key element of cancel culture, you need to know which members of your own “mob” will be unafraid to engage with you, speak with you, guide you, and help you should cancel culture render you radio- active. Leaders of larger organizations may want to ensure that they have the contact details for a media spokesperson, general counsel, chief communications officer, chief marketing officer, chief legal officer, COO, or some other senior person in charge of operations. 

An important additional resource to have at the ready in advance of a cancel culture attack is the name and phone number of an experienced guide who can be with you, counsel you, and help protect you from the oncoming avalanche of hate. Interviewing a crisis communications agency or legal expert should be done well in advance to determine that you have vetted the right partner and ensured that the firm or individual has the relevant expertise, ability, and fighting spirit that you are going to need when everything is on the line. 

There is a well-known truism that states there are generally three sides to every situation: what one person said happened, what the other person said happened, and what really happened. 

Contact a Crisis PR Professional for Help

In the midst of a media firestorm, and even during more sedate times, it is not enough to simply hope and pray that the truth will eventually come out. There are far too many factors that make this nearly impossible. Sitting back and doing nothing is an almost guaranteed failed strategy. A more promising path to success is to undertake a strategic approach described as pressing the truth

A general rule of thumb when it comes to effectively communicating is that you need to tell your story on your own terms and from your own perspective, since failure to do so means that someone else is going to tell that story for you. 

Knowing when you need professional help is important to recognize. Crisis PR experts have the knowledge and experience to help you shut down an online attack and move forward.

Red Banyan’s team of cancel culture and crisis communications experts have years of experience handling the fallout from cancel culture attacks and will get you the best result possible. Contact Red Banyan’s team of cancel culture andcrisis PR professionals to find out how we can help.