Measuring the Impact of the Trump Tweet-Effect
It’s the first week of the new Trump administration, and every publicly traded company that operates in the United States is terrified. With 140 characters, President Trump has transformed the presidential bully pulpit into a brutally effective communications weapon that can slash billions from company’s public valuation. His tweets targeting specific businesses have highlighted overseas trade and manufacturing practices — with the aim of bringing jobs back to the United States.
Within a matter of minutes, Donald Trump has proven that he can thrust any company into his very public debate about keeping manufacturing jobs within the United States. As a result, corporate communications teams at some of the largest enterprises in the world are now constantly on edge, watching their Twitter feed in fear of seeing their company mentioned in a presidential tweet. To help these teams calibrate their plans, we’ve assessed one of Trump’s recent tweets targeting Toyota, and the resulting ripple effect across the media spectrum.
On January 5, 2017, Trump delivered an ultimatum to Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota:
Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2017
All forms of digital media immediately reacted to the tweet, with the issues of manufacturing and factories featuring prominently. Despite Trump getting the facts about the Toyota factory wrong, the initial reaction still dwarfed the reach earned by Toyota’s response that clarified the facts. Communications departments need to understand how the conversation plays out in the wake of a crisis to ensure the right issues are addressed within a potential response.
The Link Between Stock Price and Media Impressions
The tweet regarding Trump’s proposed foreign policy generated a frenzy across the media, generating 242 million impressions that day. When comparing the stock price to media impressions, the link between the two can clearly be seen. As mentions for Trump and Toyota peaked at over 7.5K an hour, the company’s stock price tumbled by 0.85% from the day’s opening price. This reduced the company valuation by $1.27 billion.
The tweet from Trump caught the attention of millions across Mexico and the United States, with almost 24,000 mentions created across all forms of media. Even more digital traffic came from around the world, despite the proposed policy only affecting trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Canada had 418 mentions around the topic, Argentina had 156 and India had 188.
Because he’s one of the most powerful people in the world, foreign governments and enterprises are forced to follow Trump’s social media activity as his tweets on policies have the power to affect the stock prices across the globe. On the off chance their nation or brand gets drawn into the conversation around one of his tweets, corporate communications departments need to be able to target their response at the affected regions. The first stage of this is identifying the regions in which the conversation occurs.
13,000 of the 22,000 total mentions in the United States came from New York, due to people retweeting Donald Trump’s initial tweet that was geotagged in Manhattan. The three states (apart from New York) with the most mentions were California, Texas and Florida, which all had over 900 mentions. No other state had more than 200 mentions.
In Mexico, the conversation was centered around the regions of México, Puebla, Nuevo León and Guanajuato, the proposed site of the factory.
The Biggest Issues Around the Tweet
Donald Trump was far and away the biggest issue for Toyota. Trump criticized Toyota’s proposed Mexican factory as a way to show how he plans to increase manufacturing jobs in the United States. The President’s focus on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. is reflected in the next two biggest issues, manufacturing and factories. Issues around Chevrolet appears within mentions for Toyota as Trump criticized the American manufacturer for the exact same thing two days prior.
Comparing the Action with the Reaction
The initial message almost always garners a far larger reach than the clarifying response from Trump’s corporate target. Iterations of the message from Trump’s initial tweet were seen by a potential 242 million people, while the response from Toyota was seen by a far smaller audience. Toyota’s statement generated 17.2 million impressions and was mentioned 3,332 times, compared to the 33,311 mentions that followed Trump’s tweet.
The same trend can be seen when looking at the tweets. Trump’s message was retweeted 26,432 times, while Toyota’s response to the criticism was only retweeted 3,074 times. There was also a major difference in how news organizations reported on each part of the conversation. Fox News, Reuters and Bloomberg’s Mexican partner El Financiero all reported on the initial tweet, while no news organizations followed up on Toyota’s response.
Why it’s important to track the response
Understanding how the conversation plays out provides the context needed for a productive crisis response plan. By knowing the the size and scope of the reaction, response teams can ensure that their efforts are targeted at engaging the right people. With Trump seemingly targeting companies at random, enterprises should understand their blind spots and be proactive with a response plan. The initial message almost always garners a larger response, so enterprises must be swift in their attempts to rectify public sentiment. If not, the marketplace narrative quickly becomes cast in stone — potentially impacting a company’s valuation.