Here’s what United should have done

Ok, that’s an overstatement. Here are some things they could have done differently, to avoid the nightmare that is their current brand situation. Honestly, I didn’t even want to comment on this, but it’s just so bad that I can’t fight my own instincts. But, I’ll keep it brief for all of our sake.

  1. Say sorry for the real reason: On day one, United’s CEO could have said, “I am so sorry for what happened to this passenger.” Even if the passenger had started a fight, it wouldn’t have mattered. The fact is there’s a video of this human being bloodied and dragged. No individual piece of information will ever make those images disappear. Apologizing for “re-accommodating” is almost more offensive than no comment at all.
  2. Assume all internal memos will be leaked: Guess what, there are no secrets. Guess what else, no one likes a person who speaks out of both sides of their mouth. If you are truly sorry, say sorry in the same way to every audience. Customers, PR, and your employees. Don’t say sorry externally, and then turn around and whisper “just kidding, we’re not really sorry! it was his fault” to your colleagues.
  3. Train your crisis team to speak on social media: Social networks are populated by lots and lots of humans. These humans come from all walks of life. This is different than targeted media relations. When you speak to editors, you use a certain tone, and convey specific information. When you speak to millions of individuals who have had experiences with your airlines, who have their own opinions, biases, and backgrounds, you must use different language. You must have a different type of EQ. Find someone on the team who understands those customers, speaks their language, and can help you translate. ASAP.

This is of course an oversimplified list of things that could have been done differently. And, hindsight is 20/20. But, these are rules that I live by every day, and it’s surprising after so many snafus United hasn’t learned them yet.

What do you think?

Post It Comic: An Ok Match Made in Heaven ( Acquired OKCupid)

So, *just* yesterday I was reading an article from OK!Cupid about why internet denizens should never pay for online dating.  Strangely, this morning, that very free dating site was acquired by premium dating site,

So? Which is it? Should I pay to meet Mr. right, or shouldn’t I? Well, OKCupid says it will continue to be free…but now that Match is signing paychecks, they don’t think paying for dating sites is that bad either. Also, that particular blog post has been taken down off the OK blog.

Regardless of how you like to get your dates, hopefully this acquisition will only mean great things for lovers on the interwebz.

And, without further ado, I give you the latest Post It Comic:


Woot’s CEO makes me come out of hiding

Well, as you probably haven’t noticed, I have not blogged in approximately one eon. That’s a long time. Seriously.

You should know that I’ve thought about TONS of blog ideas. They were all fantastic and you wouldn’t have LOVED to read them. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually put the proverbial pen to paper and publish any of said ideas.

That dark phase is behind us though, and I think we’re both mature enough to move on, accept that we’ve both made mistakes, are now a little older and wiser and ready to face this new…what the heck am I talking about.  Forgive me, I’m rusty, and thus I digress.

The point of this post is to talk about how fantastic I found all of Woot!’s blog posts and video yesterday regarding their acquisition by Amazon.

First off, you MUST read the CEO’s letter to employees. He’s hilarious and really does a good job of squashing the fear that normally creeps up in employees of acquired companies.

Second, watch this video that Woot made announcing that they’d been acquired (below). It’s not just a video, it’s a full-on rap with some excellent editing. You can tell this wasn’t just thrown together, they had this launch strategy in mind and it really paid off.  I’m particularly fond of the lyric:
“And then BOOM we got acquired by Amazon / So no more rollin’ in late with our pajamas on”

In conclusion: Congratulations to Woot on their acquisition, and thank you to Woot for bringing so much light to my day that I just had to blog about it.

Times Get Tougher

In a really short time period, things have gone from bad to worse. TAT is in full effect. Unless you live under a rock, or have some kind of aversion to reading/watching/hearing the news, then you know that there have been over 130,000 layoffs in the past 2 days. 130k!!!

According to International Herald Tribune:

On Wednesday, the tally of U.S. layoffs in December was to be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Already, the bureau says, the U.S. economy has shed at least 2.55 million jobs since the recession began, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate to 7.2 percent last month.

It’s a pretty depressing and bleak number to wrap my head around, and it just keeps getting bigger. My roomy works for Bank of America, the bank “best” off since the mortgage crises, and her stories of daily layoffs/policy changes are heart-breaking. Imagine getting laid off weeks before you’re about to retire, after decades of service….unbelievable really.

I have to admit that I was riding a high, almost drug-like, euphoria living and working in the silicon valley. Now we’re all getting hit with an ice cold bucket of reality. I’m pretty scared to see how things turn out for all the people to whom I’m close–but, for now, I’ll dare to hope for the best.

Twitter Reports on US Airways Flight 1549

Did you hear about today’s emergency US Airways flight landing in the Hudson River on Twitter? Us too.

In what seemed like the world’s fastest news cycle, Twitter was undeniably the breaking source for all updates—and if it wasn’t breaking news, it was definitely where the news was disseminated. As soon as the crash happened there were eyewitness reports on Twitter, then a second wave of tweets appeared from those who were pointing to articles published on news outlets, then a third wave as soon as information emerged about possible causes, and then a fourth tweet wave (which is still flowing with 10’s of updates every second, even now) announcing that all passengers had been successfully rescued.

US Airways trending on Twitter

In an instant, everyone knew what was happening due in large part to the buzz on Twitter. It was like a massive telephone tree had been activated, and if you hadn’t heard, someone you know was about to tell you (and everyone else following their Twitter feed) the news.

Today’s events point to the value and power of microblogging sites like Twitter, that go beyond just knowing what your cubicle neighbor ate for lunch. This is the newest type of online / citizen journalism, and it’s clearly changing how we find and how quickly we consume news.

** cross posted to Voce Nation blog