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Can You 'Cancel' A Company: Spoiler Alert, Yes


In David Simnick’s 2016 TED Talk: Great Leaders Need Authenticity, he paraphrased a 2009 TED Talk by the amazing Simon Sinek. In this statement, Simnick explained that Sinek’s golden circle model could be summised as consumer don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This can be seen rather drastically in changes in sales in corporations after scandals or leaks.


For example, when Kat Von D, the tattoo artist and founder of what is now called KVD Beauty. When controversy was shared with the internet, such as accusations she was a Neo-Nazi and an antivaxxer, sales would have inevitably dropped due to individuals not wanting to be associated with a brand who’s face is associated with such ignorance. The latter of these accusations derived through Von D declaring she did not intend to vaccinate her newborn son back in 2018, and since then she has been in a position where she has sold her beauty brand after twelve years of being the head of it. Therefore, potentially re-attracting once disgruntled customers to return to the brand, now she is no longer as affiliated.


Another company that is shrouded in controversy is the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A. They are significantly more popular in the United States of America. However, this company is renowned for donating to anti-LGBT charities and organisations. Their CEO donates to the National Christian Charitable Foundation, which is a charity that opposes same-sex marriage. This is, despite releasing statements declaring that they were going to stop. It is not uncommon for this chain to gain negative press, however, after releasing statements of this nature, draw consumers back. After all, ignorance is bliss, and the benefit of the doubt is reasonable.


However, a rather drastic and recent example is the fact that Blizzard, the gaming company behind Overwatch and World Of Warcraft have recently been under scrutiny due to sexual harassment being an overarching element of the company culture. The women of Blizzard, have recently begun to come forward, corroborating each other’s stories about their experiences, demonstrating that this is not as easy to sweep over as one claim, as there are so many people with similar experiences within the four walls. This has led to employee and gamer walk-outs, with the employees of Blizzard ceasing to work in order to protest the fact that this should not be normalised in the workplace. Since this scandal was brought to the public eye, many fans of these games, as well as people that worked with Blizzard have shown their support to those being treated in this way. A well-known response was from Russel Bower who worked on the music behind World of Warcraft, for over a decade, and updated his Twitter bio to state that he wished he could get the time he had wasted in this corporation back: “Composer, music director, conductor – World of Warcraft, Diablo III, StarCraft II. I wish I could get those twelve years of my life back.”


What these examples have in common is that the consumers are aware of the nature of the company, and wanting to avoid being associated with companies that are negative, and shrouded in controversy.



Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.


He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.


The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.


To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: arvind@theagileworks.com

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