Leadership, “Reputation Matters,” Forbes, January 18, 2017
It’s no longer crisis as usual for United Airlines, or anyone else. Live social media posting has changed what you can get away with in a crisis — forever.
It used to be that if an airline made as monumental a mistake as United Airlines just did by causing a paying customer who had done nothing wrong to be dragged off a plane screaming, bloodying him up along the way in front of all his fellow passengers, they might still have gotten away with it.
After all, on a plane, passengers were basically incommunicado, so people couldn’t have protested easily, and they might not have been believed, especially if the airline denied it or called it an “overreaction.” The populace tends to believe its leaders in these situations, if compelling evidence to the contrary doesn’t exist. It rather makes one wonder about how many times such a debacle has happened before, and just not been caught on video.
But today all that changed. Live footage of the assault of an innocent passenger by security personnel was captured and immediately posted on social media around the world, instantly making United one of the most hated companies in the world. […read more]