The failures of Silicon Valley and Signature Banks this weekend have dominated the national conversation. There’s plenty of discussion still to come on how startups might think differently about cash management in the future, such as diversifying bank accounts and guaranteeing balances.
But in the meantime, here are some communications lessons from the initial response to the crisis:
In times of sensitivity and uncertainty like these, tailor communications to what’s incoming. There were a lot of startups and investment firms with some exposure to SVB—and plenty without. It was equally as important for those without exposure to communicate as those with. Many startups who were not impacted said so via a short tweet after getting a lot of inquiries. Others getting more one-off inquiries responded to employees, LPs and others directly.
Be as straightforward and transparent as possible. For a big part of the weekend, many companies were operating in a sort of gray zone, not knowing what would happen to the funds they had in SVB. Companies focused on the facts and tried to share as much as possible while also instilling confidence and working feverishly behind the scenes to address any immediate liquidity requirements.
Stay alert to opportunities for how to help. On the investor side, firms hustled to put together packages for startups and other companies that needed more cash immediately. Their ability to leap into action showed their value at a critical moment.
Twitter is still a primary source of news and an impactful communication channel. VCs, founders and other financial industry players took to Twitter in droves to share status updates, provide suggestions and support, and put pressure on decision-makers to act
FGS Global’s Research and Insights team found partisan divides on the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The results come from a canvass of TrendSpotters, FGS Global’s community of 300 news-attentive Americans.
Participants have paid close attention. 72% have heard a lot about the incident, while 23% have heard a little. Most describe the materials that were being transported as “hazardous,” “toxic,” “poisonous” and “dangerous.”
Reactions to the events divide sharply along party lines. Democrats are quick to blame “regulatory failures” and “corporate greed,” while Republicans focus on what they see as a poor administration response.
Republicans are scathing of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s performance—with many feeling he is out of his depth. Even Democrat respondents feel Buttigieg took too long to visit.
Democrats call for a wholesale revamp of how hazardous materials are shipped via freight rail. Democrats want to address perceived systemic problems— viewing even the smallest chances of release as unacceptable.
In contrast, Republicans see risk as inherent, and call only for minor regulatory changes. Republicans want to minimize perceived one-off accidents while protecting manufacturing.
Respondents on both sides of the aisle support requiring rail carriers to take proper safety precautions, such as slower speeds, improved defect detectors and better braking. Half each of Republicans and Democrats support such a proposal.
Looking at recent polling around “woke” culture, our Research and Insights team found the term—and the issues associated with it—may be less polarizing than national rhetoric can make them seem:
Most Americans (56%) view the term “woke” as a positive descriptor, meaning “to be informed, educated on and aware of social injustices.” About 2-in-5 (39%) think it is closer to meaning politically incorrect and policing others’ words. Sixty percent of Republicans view “woke” as an insult, compared to 25% of Democrats.
48% of U.S. adults think businesses should take a public stance on current events. Eighteen to 29 year-olds (59%) are the most supportive of companies taking a stand, followed by 30-44 year-olds (51%), those 60 and older (43%) and 43-59 year-olds (41%).
About a third of Americans would describe themselves as feminists (32%), but 77% say they think men and women should have equal rights and status in society and be treated equally in every way.
Recently, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called for a “national divorce” between Republican- and Democratic-led states, “from the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrats’ traitorous America Last policies.” Majorities of both Democrats (69%) and Republicans (60%) say they disagree with Greene’s statement.
48% of Millennials report having “some” or “a lot” of trust in Congress, making them the generation with the most faith in this institution. Gen Z adults have the least trust in Congress (32%). Baby boomers have the most trust in corporate America (47%), while Gen Z has the least (31%).