United Airlines’s branding disaster
The speed with which the United Airlines ‘dragged passenger’ incident has turned into a PR disaster is startling—thanks to social media
When airport security personnel dragged a paying passenger off a United Airlines flight in the US, bruised and bloodied, in order to accommodate off-duty personnel, it had the makings of a public relations mess. But even so, the speed with which the incident has turned into a PR disaster is startling—thanks to social media. A video taken by a fellow passenger has gone viral and garnered over 120 million hits in less than a day in China alone—particularly damaging since the passenger is of Chinese descent and the country is a lucrative market for United.
This isn’t the first time a viral video or a tone-deaf tweet has turned into a PR headache. British Airways had its own experience with it in India in 2015 when it managed to annoy Sachin Tendulkar on social media. There’s corporate branding’s arguably toughest task today: riding the social media tiger. A clever tweet or a satisfied one from a customer can and has led to a spike in sales—but a careless one can lead to the kind of negative exposure money can’t always fix.
Editor's Picks »
- Take a loan against your mutual fund only if you really need it
- Patanjali seeing interest from electric vehicle, steel makers: Acharya Balkrishna
- How a strong portfolio can change a life
- Will homebuyers really benefit if they are financial creditors?
- India’s correlation with global markets approaches 10-year low
- Motherson Sumi continues to face margin pressure in foreign markets
- What the Warren Buffett indicator tells us about market valuations today
- Jet Airways lands with a thud in Q4 as fuel costs increase
- IBC amendments: Some dilutions, and a lot more speed
- Patanjali’s gambit is paying off in toothpaste wars