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Heroes or Villains: How Brands Can Navigate Today’s Climate of Heightened Moral Judgment

Total Credits: 1 Advance Credits

Average Rating:
Communication |  Consulting
Julie Knox, BA
42 Minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date :
Feb 02, 2021


The Chinese word for crisis is composed of two characters — 危机 — one signifying ‘danger’ and one signifying ‘opportunity.’ We have begun to see this duality play out in the way that brands are being judged, and their reputations and images changed, by how they have been behaving and communicating not just in response to the pandemic, but also in response to the recent wave of protests for racial justice. Insights from our newly launched WhatsApp Community of consumers and small business owners, show that people are displaying a heightened sensitivity to how ‘corporate America’ is behaving and which ‘side’ companies are on – with a new landscape of heroes and villains emerging. Understanding how people are assessing brands in this climate of heightened moral judgement could give companies a crucial advantage in terms of driving their responses and framing their messaging. We will use the ‘Moral Foundations Theory’ outlined by Jonathan Haidt as a framework for understanding how our moral intuitions are being activated in the current environment, and how companies can adapt to this new level of scrutiny – whether this takes the form of a short-term adaptation or a longer-term transformation.  



Julie Knox, BA Related seminars and products


Jigsaw Research

Julie has over 20 years of market research experience. She started her career at Research International, where she worked out of the London and New York offices, and has since divided her time between the UK and the US, building up a wealth of experience across the two markets.  Julie has spent most of her career on the agency side but has also worked on the client side, both as an in-house researcher (at Morgan Stanley, New York) and as an external consultant (at PwC, London).  She currently heads up the US office of Jigsaw Research, an international strategic insights agency, headquartered in London. 
Julie is an international speaker at industry conferences and events, including, most recently; at the 2019 CRC Conference in Orlando on redefining the customer in a traditionally sales driven organization, and at the 2020 MRMW Online Conference on how Jigsaw has been using WhatsApp to connect with consumers during the pandemic.

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