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What Can Marketers Take Away from the United Fiasco

It was all the buzz heard around the world: A 69-year old doctor that was literally dragged out of his seat on an overbooked United flight. And of course as is now the norm, passengers were quick to record the whole debacle on their cell phones, just like any good citizen reporter would do.

Within mere hours, United was slammed head first into a public relations nightmare. The images being shared around almost every social media outlet known to man, was only fuel for the negative backlash the company would endure.

This begs the question, what can you as a marketer learn from United’s crisis?  Especially if you are marketing your own products / services.

Forecast risk – think ahead of all the possible pit falls that you and your brand might need to overcome before they even happen.  I’m not suggesting a dooms day scenario, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least have a plan in place for such off the wall instances.

Designate a team or go-to person – This should be someone (or a team) that is an expert in communication.  Someone that is up for the task of being the face and voice of your brand should things go off kilter.

Train your team – Make sure everyone that has anything to do with your brand knows that even though customers might not always be right, that they should still be treated with the utmost respect.

Be prepared – Just like forecasting risk and making a plan, your brand should be prepared for the backlash from both the highs and lows.


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