Bimbo Banter

United Breaks Communication Rules

  • Crisis
  • April 13, 2017
  • by Spaeth Communications


Amongst United's PR nightmare, the Dallas Business Journal looked to quote Merrie Spaeth, Jimmy Kimmel and fellow Dallas communicator Jo Trizila. You can read the full article in the DBJ, but we've pulled out our top three lessons here:

  1. Ask "Who's your audience?" United failed by letting corporate policy and federal aviation minimums take precedent over serving its customers. Kindness or at least capitalism could've won out in the end.
  2. Corporate-speak doesn't work. United similarly mishandled a situation last month with two young women wearing leggings. They were right on a technicality (non-rev passengers must follow a dress code) but their overly corporate voice left customers feeling cold.
  3. Have a plan. Crises live forever online. While the rate of meme production will slow, undoubtedly someone will recirculate or rediscover the incident, just as we still reference "United Breaks Guitars" in our trainings! Have a crisis communication plan not just in handling future crises but also in responding to the infinite cycle of rediscovery. 

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