Uber’s CEO quit President Donald Trump’s business council. Nordstrom stopped selling Ivanka Trump’s fashion. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Toyota, meanwhile, suffered through the discomfort of being on the receiving end of Trump Twitter tirades.
The Trump era is a perilous new landscape for corporate America. Companies are feeling political pressure like never before, squeezed on one side by consumers who are boycotting products with any ties to the administration and on the other by the outspoken, social media-loving president.
For most companies, the decision to get political used to be made after long, careful deliberations among a company’s leader, public relations team, lawyers and lobbyists. Now, in an increasingly divided America, companies may have no choice but to move quickly.
“You have to understand your customers in real time because political ramifications are happening instantly,” said Matt Friedman, a crisis communications adviser based near Detroit who has worked with public and private companies. “Each business now has to look at where their customer fits into the political divide and how their company values align to what the president is doing on a day-to-day basis.”