Home/ Opinion / Quick-edit/  United Airlines’s branding disaster

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.

ALSO READ: United Airlines shares declines as social-media firestorm spreads worldwide

ALSO READ: United Airlines under fire after passenger dragged from plane

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Updated: 12 Apr 2017, 01:24 AM IST
Recommended For You
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My Reads Watchlist Feedback Redeem a Gift Card Logout