The beginning of the end

Corporations can lose to activist groups. The bad press is so overwhelming, the corporation’s stance is so embarrassing, and the internal friction is so severe that the company has no choice but to settle. The fight is over and there are no tactics that can reverse the damage. You give the activist group whatever they are asking for because there is nothing left to argue over and nothing gained from continuing on.

We have seen SeaWorld reach this point, I think, with the Huffington Post publishing an article called, “The End of SeaWorld.” The author writes, accurately, that when it comes to SeaWorld, “The brand represents the torture of whales.” This is what the end of a successful activist campaign looks like – SeaWorld either reforms its business in a way that is blessed by the activists, or it gets stuck in the corporate death spiral of customers, investors and talented employees taking their resources elsewhere.

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