Twitter analysis confirms that Americans are looking for companies to take a stance

We’ve been closely following this week’s events around the CEO exits from Trump’s Business Councils and Wednesday’s disbanding of those groups. GSG explored how this played out on social media and the significance–in this day and age–of taking a position and moving quickly to action. Here’s what we found:

You cannot sit out the conversation

Unsurprisingly, companies that chose to leave the council saw a huge upswing in conversation on social media, with mentions on Twitter jumping more than 11.5x compared to the average for other days in August. Companies that condemned violence and racism, but explained their intention to remain, such as GE, Dow Chemical, and Dell, and those who chose to not comment, such as Johnson & Johnson and United Technologies, also saw lifts in the conversation predominantly driven by calls to leave the council. However, the proportional increase in conversation was greater for companies who chose to make no comment at all (7.2x previous conversation, with a quarter using the hashtag #QuitTheCouncil) indicating that, if their intention was to stay clear of controversy, some reaction would still have been better than none at all.


The earliest actions make the most impact

The greatest amount of conversation was created by Merck CEO Ken Frazier, the first and only CEO to announce his withdrawal on August 14th. Conversation around Merck peaked at 60,000 mentions per hour on Twitter, with the most popular content focusing on the stark difference between the president’s attack of Frazier and his half-hearted condemnation of white nationalists and supremacists.


Intel and Under Armour, both of which followed on August 15th saw a bump only half the size of that created by Merck, with the companies following them only seeing around one sixth of the impact. The hour-by-hour look shows the clear diminishing returns of being viewed as a follower rather than a leader in the conversation.


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