One of the most important pages in my new book is the diagram of an activist group attack. The illustration identifies a corporation’s vulnerable areas, and the kinds of tactics activists use to stab at these weak spots.
It’s already time for me to update my chart.
One new frontier in activism is to literally bring the protests home. Google engineers, venture capitalists and local politicians have all been visited by groups of protesters, not at the office, but at their private residences.
Then there’s the company’s financial position. This summer, a short trial was held for an environmental activist who temporarily crashed the stock price of an Australian mining company. He issued a fake but very realistic press release about a bank’s cancellation of a loan for an upcoming project.
These tactics – both the threat and execution – are indeed a kind of extortion. Regardless, if a corporation decides to resist an activist group’s demands, the company’s executive leadership needs to understand the new rules of the game – except that it’s not a game anymore.