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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Adam Schiff's Aide Threatened Two Researchers When They Balked at a Demand to Work on Schiff's Russiagate Psyop, Telling Them, "We're in Charge Now"
May 17, 2023

Wednesday Morning Rant [Joe Mannix]


Balance of Terror

Much digital and physical ink has been spilled over the Tranheuser-Busch's marketing debacle and the subsequent explosion of opposition and sales free-fall. On the non-left, much of the discourse has been about whether it means anything What does it mean? Does it matter? Do the megacorps care about their customers at all? Does punishing AB-InBev mean nothing because all the rest are more of the same? On the left, of course, it's the opposite. Just lots of wailing about the hatefulness and appalling behavior of the troglodytes.

But I think it does mean something and, depending on whether the pressure can be sustained and how it turns out for the company, it can be the first step in restoring the customer as a major player in corporate decision-making. For large businesses, the customer essentially does not enter into the equation because the customer is taken for granted.

The customer is ignored thanks in large part to "Woke Capital." This is the cabal of major banks and investment organizations that demand the companies with which they do business go woke. Woke Capital enforces its will through ESG ratings. If your ESG rating isn't high enough, you pay more for capital or can't access it at all. The corporate boards fear Woke Capital and act to appease its demands. They do not fear their customers, because their customers will stick around by default thanks to the power of brand preference.

This is endemic now in the corporate world. Some of these outfits are genuinely woke through and through, but most probably aren't outside of their HR, advertising and "charity" organizations. But they fear their internal activists and especially the Woke Capital cabal, so they seek to appease those groups. Without effective access to credit, underwriting, M&A support, etc., the business will have a very hard time continuing as a going concern. Fighting the internal activists is nosier and harder than capitulating to them and will subject them to Twitter Rage.

Customer action can seriously screw up that fragile equilibrium. The assumed progression of corporate woke subversion is that some customers may be lost, but not too many. Most won't notice, won't care and will keep buying because they buy by default. Brand preferences, once established, are hard to change. The assumption has been that enwokening will not cause a dramatic shift in brand preference. They can be quietly subversive while retaining most of the customer base. The Tranheuser-Busch debacle shows what happens when customers do get involved and tip the balance. That company is losing far, far more than it expected - and far more than they've gained by complying with Woke Capital and the internal activists.

That is why I think it does matter. Fear of the customer is healthy. Fear of the customer needs to be significant enough to offset the fear of internal activists and Woke Capital. If not for the current executives, then for the next ones when this batch moves on to wreck the next company. Customers have the power to destroy the enterprise value of these outfits. One thing a time, one scalp at a time. Destroy enough value at enough companies to make them fear you at least as much as they fear the others. Maintain the pressure on a single target, Alinsky style. Reduce it to a shambling zombie then move on to another one. Everything is woke now, so it's a target-rich environment and it doesn't really matter where you start. AB-InBev is as good a place as any.

This kind of action may be able to impose a balance of terror, and AB-InBev is a test case.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM

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