How vulnerable is your business to the Cancel Culture?

Cancel culture

While 2020 will be remembered for COVID-19, there is another C-word that came into prominence this year that has also had a significant impact on businesses and their owners. It is called Cancel Culture.

It is what happens when businesses and business owners deviate so badly from the values that they claim to embody, that it leads their consumers to ‘drop them like hotcakes’ in a very public way.

Their customers or fans take to social media to call for them to be CANCELLED.

And just like that, in the space of a day, a business that has built a much-lauded and admired brand, possibly over the span of a decade or more, can collapse with one Tweet.

Young consumers – Millennials and GenZs – are leading this cancel culture phenomenon. As a generation, they are highly driven by values and integrity, have a more activist streak, and will not tolerate being duped in anyway by a brand.

Famous cases in 2020 included Ellen De Generis’s major fall from grace over bullying and racism within her organisation. And then in July, the owner of the exercise phenomenon, CrossFit was disgraced after a racist tweet in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests.

Here Nick Yung describes the Crossfit case and a quick tip to find out what your reputation is among your community.

For GenZers who idolise their YouTube influencers, there were several “cancelling cases” in 2020, centering around sexism and racism. Fast fashion took a hit as well, as younger consumers started to comprehend the manufacturing inequity built into this business model.

Not to mention the disgust fans felt as a result of JK Rowling’s unapologetic trans-phobic tweets. While JK Rowling will likely still be a billionaire, the damage that the cancel culture has had on her personal brand in 2020 has been significant.

The Cancel Culture is not going anywhere. If anything, it will get more vocal in 2021, as consumers – coming off a horror 2020, both personally and professionally – will not stomach inauthenticity any longer.

bizzi recently held a webinar on Brand Trust. The message was clear. Your brand’s reputation is built over time upon the values you publicly affirm to your target market, and then embody daily within and without your organisation. As you grow your business, customers will align with your vision and values, begin to trust you as a business and buy from you.

Have you defined what your brand essence is? Brand expert, Yulia Saksen, explains the difference between company values, brand values and brand essence.

Brand Trust was a theme that dominated 2020. Governments around the world regulated heavily around privacy and data protection, leaving many small businesses frantically trying to fix up their systems, and all of us having our inboxes swamped with PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) emails.

Here Lyn Boxall explains how the consequences of neglecting to secure your customers’ privacy can destroy your business.


The new generation of consumers are very savvy, and are more likely to purchase consciously from brands that align with their own values.

Whether you are a building a personal brand or a business brand, 2020 has shown that even the best PR campaign or heartfelt apology is no match for a tsunami of netizens calling for a brand to be cancelled.

The Cancel Culture is a phenomenon like a pandemic that is a serious threat to your business. As business owners, we should be spending the coming weeks and months doing a stocktake of our business’s values, what our brand essence is and making sure that every part of our business’s operations and marketing is solidly aligned.

bizzi MicroConsultants can support you through all these business challenges. If you are stuck with regards to your strategy or operations, or are struggling to make sales, book a session with Nick, Yulia or Lyn today. 

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