United Airlines is by now a case study in crisis management – rather in the ‘how not to respond to a PR disaster’. The disembarking of a passenger in an inglorious and rude fashion, in this age of citizen journalism, and oblivious to mobile cameras recording the event, will cost United a fortune in terms of brand value.
Irrespective of the belated and rather hesitant apology by the CEO, Oscar Munoz, and his claim that the airline will not ‘suffer’ its reputation in the long term, the David Dao PR nightmare will haunt the company for long.
Enough has been said about the event and the bad PR aftermath.
What is more amusing, is the fact that the airline had advertised a PR role, a Manager – Brand PR based in Houston, will besides a host of other brand management responsibilities, will “conceive and organize stories and events that generate media coverage and brand awareness”. It will report to Jim Olson.
Does United and the HR team realize that such an advertisement in this battered time, only adds to the crisis woes of the already badgered image of United. Or do they think that this is good PR, as prospective fliers will feel happy that the airline is making amends by hiring an incumbent, who will treat customers with better dignity?
It remains to be seen, if this small act will in anyway add to the sullied reputation of the airline. But, on a different note, to think that the HR team and management at United even remotely think that this will a PR advantage is amusing.
Or may be, the need to hire a Brand Manager was always there, and the present situation is just a coincidence??
Any case, here’s wishing United more good PR!