CEO’s are living in a state of fear. To promote his agenda of boosting jobs in America, President Trump attacked several of the largest enterprises in America. In the process, the new President created havoc on Wall Street. Never before has a president targeted individual companies; the strategy of previous leaders had been to lambast entire industries. These targeted attacks have caused share prices and company valuations to plummet within minutes of the president’s tweet. Communications departments at Fortune 1000 companies now have their Twitter feed up next to their stock ticker, a thought that was ludicrous mere months ago.

The world at his fingertips

No president in the history of the United States has leveraged the media with such laser-guided effectiveness. President Obama was the first president to use social media and the first to ever have a Twitter handle. Since Obama’s second term, smartphone penetration in the U.S. has almost doubled to 80%. Instant communication is now at the fingertips of virtually everyone in the country, including Donald Trump. President Trump has continued to use his personal Twitter account from the White House, which allows him to reach his 20 million followers instantly in addition to the 14.7 million people who follow the @POTUS account.

The new social media precedent (and president)

President Obama set a precedent of using social media to provide more transparency into government activities. In the build up to his inauguration, Trump has used Twitter in a very different way. Eschewing the traditional press conference, Trump has utilized his Twitter handle as the primary channel — several times a day — to communicate with the press and public. These one-way conversations often include proposed policies and attacks on individual companies. Earlier this month, Trump tweeted:

The reaction to the President Elect’s tweet generated 313,173 mentions and 6 billion impressions across all forms of media. In the immediate aftermath, Toyota’s stock price dropped by 0.7%, reducing the company’s valuation by $2 billion.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 3.03.56 PM

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 10.26.46 AM










Unprecedented attacks

In the past, leaders have spoken out against entire industries to highlight questionable business practices. Obama criticized the energy industry’s reliance on coal and George W. Bush criticized big pharma’s drug prices. This tactic highlighted a pertinent issue without calling out specific companies and the guilty parties would usually quit the practice after the president’s message. Trump’s 140-character attacks brings immediate attention to a company and particular issue.  In the aftermath of Trump’s Tweetstorm, each of the affected companies have seen their valuation slashed. Enterprises are then left in the tricky position of deciding whether to cave into his demands or stand their ground and risk reducing their stock price further.

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 9.16.42 AMCan your company withstand the power of Trump’s thumbs?

President Trump has shown in his first few weeks in office that he is prepared to attack any enterprise, no matter how large, if he can increase the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States. With every enterprise a target, corporate communications departments need to implement crisis plans to counteract the effects on their stock prices resulting from President Trump’s tweets. These should include identifying and rectifying any potential weaknesses within the operations of the enterprise, a sheet of facts that could potentially be used in a response and guidelines for the tone of the response. Every brand needs to prepare for a tweet from President Trump, as it seems nobody is safe from the presidential @mention.