Look, An Opportunity
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein
Mr. Einstein was a smart man.
In the past week several organizations have proven his point, in different ways. When American fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A’s President, Don Cathy publicly stated the company’s position on gay marriage, he created a media storm.
For better or worse, more people know about Chick-Fil-A now than they did two weeks ago.
Ironically, Chick-Fil-A’s crisis provided others with a communication opportunity.
Cities of Boston and Chicago
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino publicly stated he did not want Chick-Fil-A in his city, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Chick-Fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values”. A Chicago alderman also plans to block Chick-Fil-A from building a restaurant in his ward. Both cities took a firm stance against Chick-Fil-A’s comments, and politicians took this moment to reaffirm their commitment to inclusiveness.
Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company had recently partnered with Chick-Fil-A to supply toys for the chain’s kids’ meals. Upon learning of Cathy’s comments, The Jim Henson Company severed the partnership. To make the point even clearer, Henson CEO, Lisa Henson directed the company to donate monies received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD. By severing ties and supporting a GLBT organization Jim Henson Company was able reassure to stakeholders its commitment to diversity.
Huckabee, a past Republican presidential candidate and former governor, supported Cathy and declared August 1 Chick-Fil-A Day. Though Huckabee hasn’t been a newsmaker in several years, Chick-Fil-A’s media crisis allowed him to jump into the spotlight and remind his conservative supporters he’s still there.
These examples show there are plenty of opportunities to engage your stakeholders—whether the crisis is yours or not.