When a crisis only exists in the eyes of the critics

I’ve been avoiding any commentary on the Chick-Fil-A situation for a number of reasons. But I’ve been wondering for the last couple days whether or not the company is actually in a “crisis.”

Here’s where my head’s at: All the communications professionals who seem to believe that anytime there’s any sort of negative consumer reaction the company in question needs to shift positions immediately as an example of “listening” think that Chick-Fil-A is indeed in a crisis. They’re being assaulted by people who believe the company is filled with hatred because of comments made by the CEO about his support for traditional marriage.

But the company itself isn’t exactly acting like it’s in the middle of a crisis. If you look at companies who have experienced crises they act a certain way, in some other way running around looking for a way out. But Chick-Fil-A doesn’t seem to be doing that, at least not externally. The biggest change is that they’ve been silent on Twitter for the last week or so. The comments the CEO made are consistent with the company’s public image – they are closed on Sundays after all, observing the Biblical Sabbath in a way that used to be normal but which now seems to open them up for derision – even if they were, without question, alienating to a large portion of their potential consumer base.

So it doesn’t seem that Chick-Fil-A thinks they’re in a crisis. They have to weather this storm to be sure, but they aren’t really acting like this is a situation they need to extricate themselves from. This crisis seems to be solely in the eyes of the beholder.