This is an interesting case for crisis management aficionados.
We live in interesting times indeed when hypersensitivity meets the mob mentality on social media.
UBS Chief Economist Paul Donovan was commenting in his podcast on China’s economy and how there’s been some inflation caused by sick pigs in China. The country has recently had to cull 1.1 million pigs because of an outbreak of swine fever.
He tried to add a bit of color to his commentary instead of dishing out the usual cut-and-dried tone of economists: “Does this matter?” he asked. “It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China.”
On the surface, Chinese ride-hailing service behemoth Didi Chuxing seems to have read the playbook on crisis management.
When it came under a barrage of criticism after a driver in its carpooling service, Hitch, raped and murdered a female passenger last Friday, it said and did what you’d expect a responsible company to do.
It deployed what industry calls the 3Rs of crisis communications. It expressed Regret — Didi extended their condolences to the grieving family and professed deep regret for their shortcoming; Reason — They humbly and touchingly admitted that the unfortunate incident happened because they prioritized growth over safety; and Remedy – They fired two high-profile executives, indefinitely suspended Hitch nationwide, and reprioritized safety in their entire operations.
The 3Rs are sufficient in most instances to neutralize criticism and allow the company to get on the road to recovery. This, however, did not happen. Instead, the criticism of Didi carries on unabated and is starting to look worse by the day.