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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's not just Washington that's burning in a seemingly perpetual cauldron of outrage. Global executives are still obsessing about how to get ahead of the next viral crisis, with mixed success. 

Why it matters: Some incidents, such as the furor after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks earlier this year, can force positive brand and societal change. Others are the corporate equivalent of WHCD hot takes: moments that would (and arguably should) have passed largely without comment are now occupying ever larger chunks of senior management's time. 

Just this week:

  • Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted was forced to distance himself from bizarre comments about slavery by brand collaborator Kanye West.
  • UK supermarket giant Sainsbury's boss was caught singing"We're in the Money" ahead of a planned mega-merger that could cost thousands of jobs.
  • Elon Musk wiped $2B off Tesla's market capitalization after cutting off analysts for the temerity of asking "boring, bonehead questions" such as how much cash the company is burning. (A lot)

Trump's early, scattershot twitter rants about specific industries and companies forced many to draft a better response plan in the event of a surprise presidential broadside. But many are proving much less adept at reining in public outrage — justified or not — once a crisis spirals.  

The big picture: Long-term corporate brand damage is still largely the result of deception (Volkswagen), greed (Facebook), incompetence (TSB) or bad product decisions (Snap).

Be smart: The strongest CEOs make sure a crisis doesn't define them, and remain ruthlessly focused on the basics. The weakest — and the most ill-advised — are still checking their Twitter feed on the way out the door. 

Go deeper

Biden to stress U.S. does not seek new Cold War in UN speech

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden will use his first address before the UN General Assembly to lay out his vision for an era of "intensive diplomacy" with allies and "vigorous competition" with great powers — without a Cold War with China.

Why it matters: Biden will take the podium in New York on Tuesday with his own international credibility in question after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. His administration also is struggling to build international momentum to fight climate change, the pandemic and rising authoritarianism.

4 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Gen Z breaks into VC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Meagan Loyst joined VC firm Lerer Hippeau, less than two years out of Boston College, she was still living with her parents. She had virtually no online brand presence, and the pandemic made it impossible to build a professional network via in-person meetings.

Why it matters: Loyst wasn't alone. Venture firms have accelerated hiring in line with record deal activity, often seeking younger investors who can spot trends that fly below the radar (or intrinsic understanding) of older partners.