The spread of the internet and social media has benefited consumer-facing companies immensely. This is a truism. But it has also made them more vulnerable to public opinion and pressure. This is currently on display in the US. President Donald Trump’s equivocation over the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville has prompted several of his business advisers to step down from his manufacturing council. Now, PepsiCo Inc. CEO Indra Nooyi is under pressure to follow suit.

In February, former Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Travis Kalanick had to resign as a Trump adviser after public pressure followed the US immigration ban. In April, United Airlines Inc.’s stock tanked after a video of a passenger being forced off one of its flights went viral. In India last year, Snapdeal didn’t renew its contract with Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador after the star’s comments about intolerance in the country made him and the company targets of an online backlash. Consumer power has perhaps never been as high as it is now.

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