United Airlines: Leading the way on what not to do

We all learn from others mistakes. Years ago, United Airlines was the main example of how the power of social media could damage a brand. Remember the song “United Breaks Guitars?”

A Nova Scotia band had a lot of success with their original song about their equipment being broken on a flight. Initially United did not offer them compensation but they did eventually bow to public pressure and pay for the broken equipment.  This example was used in many social media workshops and United itself used the song and video in training exercises. Now we are dealing with the fallout from passenger videos.

Organizations should be aware that nearly everyone has a phone that can take pictures and they can easily share them. A picture tells a story way better than words and United is once again making policy changes due to the effect of social media. This time it is nearly immediate. With the song it took weeks – this fresh brand disaster is unfolding over a few days.

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