Litigation Communications and Class Action Lawsuits in Asia

Early this year Maverick was invited to join the select Crisis and Litigation Communications Alliance, a group of PR firms who specialize in crisis management and litigation PR. In October we all met in Amsterdam for our annual meeting and were briefed by experts on the trends in litigation and class action lawsuits worldwide.

Here, our Singapore colleague Lai Kwok Kin shares some of his views on litigation communications and class action lawsuits in Asia in an Oped piece in The Straits Times.

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The Reason Why Garuda’s in a Tight Spot over Hand-Written Menu

Thank goodness Garuda has come to its senses and rescinded its direct over to disallow passengers to take any videos, photographs or the Indonesian staple, selfies, on board its planes.

For a while there it looked like Garuda had charted for itself a journey of no return into infamy, scorn, and derision. Garuda positively looked like what Ian Mitroff, one of the foremost thinkers on crisis management, would call a Crisis-Prone corporation.

Mitroff holds that corporations fall roughly into two categories where crises are concerned.

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UBS all hog-tied in China

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.”

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GO-JEK: Going all in or getting away?

GO-JEK is known for shattering conventions and getting away with it. Did it just do this again in the company’s sort of Coming Out Day last week?

It was sort of because on October 11 it joined other companies operating in the more liberal parts of the world to celebrate Diversity, which also falls on LGBTQ Awareness Day. Only instead of going whole hog on it, GO-JEK only mounted an internal campaign among its staff. It put up a gallery in its office displaying the pictures and the stories of its employees who have bravely “embraced freedom, self-acceptance and tolerance”.

The title for this internal campaign was a brave “Going All In” and one of its posters talked about embracing differences, including in sexual orientation. Yet it stopped short of using the acronym “LGTBQ”.

Even so, the campaign seems rather brave and contrarian in Indonesia, which has seen the rise of a noisy, religious Right of late.

But being brave is one thing, being myopic is another.

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Didi Chuxing Murder Statement

Didi Chuxing: Why People Don’t Buy Their Touching Statements After Second Murder

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.

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