I recently read somewhere that ‘Monday is the perfect day to correct last week’s mistakes’, but the opposite was apparently true United Airlines. By now we’ve all watched, with disbelief and disgust, the video that went viral almost immediately around the world. This backlash is not surprising at all and I’m sure it’ll get far worse before it turns around, if in fact it ever does.
Frankly, As I watched this video I couldn’t believe that not one person jumped up, interceded and demanded a stop to the atrocious behavior. I think there would’ve been like a tidal wave of revolt if only one person had had the courage to emerged from behind the camera phone and took action.
My next concern, and it may be the biggest, is the complete lack of training and common sense exhibited by the United Airlines representative. This isn’t the first time these buffoons have made a horrible choice when it comes to customer treatment. In fact, it was just two weeks ago that they rejected two team passengers for the heinous crime of wearing leggings! It’s crazy that for their next act, United Airlines shot themselves in the foot It might be a stretch, but it has me wondering if this lack of training extends to their mechanics as well.
After being in the news for rejecting two teen passengers for wearing leggings, United shot themselves in the foot by “dragging and dropping” a boarded passenger who refused to leave an overbooked flight, with video emerging of the wailing passenger being physically dragged through the aisle. Again, the airline’s handling of the crisis has left customers and observers outraged.
With stock value plummeting, Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines’ parent company has issued an apology to the passenger. He has, however, maintained the United employees followed established procedures.
And I add, “Followed established procedures? Really?”
The apology did not prevent United Continental Holdings Inc stocks from falling 1.13 per cent overnight. The stock is down about 3 per cent for the year. I see this as an example of how quickly a brand can be injured or even slaughtered one action at a time something I call BrandSlaugter. In fact, a Forbes article written shortly after the incident quoted me and referenced BrandSlaughter.
The brand, as a tangible expression of a top performing culture, comes to life when its elements – including the mission – are taken off the wall and put into daily action at all levels and through all individuals in the organization. This occurs, and is measured through, what I call “ABI” – the Audit of Brand Integrity – are we living our brand? In my book, I highlight, in the form of a parable, the story of Reliant Hospital and how essential brand is to the foundational responsibility of any organization in attracting, engaging and keeping top performers. Yet another International Bestseller.