February 1, 2021
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Reputation risk in Myanmar

We saw the sad news from Myanmar overnight about the military coup there. Many multinationals have placed bets on that country as a promising market for the future, with Japanese companies prominent among them. In an era of ‘brands taking stands’ on major issues in the news, will international firms invested in Myanmar speak out about what has happened, or will they keep their heads down? NGOs, democracy advocates, and human rights activists will no doubt be holding them to account. I shared my views with Sam Nussey of Reuters on the public relations dimensions of these matters with my comments arraying in this story.

Then, this morning, I was encouraged by an email from a friend of mine who owns a communications consulting business in Yangon. He remains optimistic and says that “the people seem highly unified in support of democracy, so it’s going to be nearly impossible [for the military] to bottle the freedoms experienced by millions over the last decade.”

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