How to Destroy Company’s Reputation

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Beginning and Uprising

There’s a TV program get the most attention on the internet in China this week. It is an onsite recruitment program called “非你莫属”(Only you, a similar program as “The Apprentice”). In the program on May 21,  a candidate called “Guo Jie”, who professed himself as an overseas student from France with 3 diplomas, failed to answer the questions from the TV host and guest and fainted on the spot. Even at this moment, the host kept asking him, “are you acting?”

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After the show went on air, some audience discovered that the question from a guest, Wen Yi, ( “Pourriez-vous m’expliquer la différence entre le marché touristique chinois et le marché touristique fran?ais ? “ ) which consists of only 16 words has contained 15 mistakes.  What’s make it even worse is she claimed that the diploma of BAC+5 equals to commen college diploma after she checked them from the candidate.

Influence

In Wen Yi’s resume, she claimed to study in La Sorbonne and get her master degree from ESMOD. And this becomes the focus of people’s questions and criticism. Some of them even E-mail to ESMOD to confirm her resume. The reply from ESMOD is:

This reply broke the lie Wenyi made up about her diploma. Now Wenyi has already equals to cheater on internet.

On her weibo, the latest post gets more than 70,000 comments (keep increasing) and most of the comments are dirty curse.

After people found she is also CEO for a website called “Zun Ku”(an online luxury shop), the weibo account of “Zun Ku” received malicious replies, such as, all the fans for this company are zombie fans; this website must sell fake goods because its boss is fake!

Now malicious comments can be found everywhere on internet: on Douban(most influential among high-level people); on TTmop(most powerful forum); RenRen( China Facebook); Baidu Tieba(biggest BBS)…

Four days later, there are still about 3000 new posts created everyday about this.

Lesson

It is almost impossible for a company to be totally immune from online reputation problems. However, neither Wenyi or Zunku takes any action to solve the problems.

For example, Wenyi could publish an official apology to the candidate like what McDonald’s did after 3.15 Evening or at least admit her mistakes.

If she takes either of the solution, she can limit the scale of reputation crisis, or at least keep it from harming her company reputation.

For companies, it is also a lesson that sometimes people from companies can make terrible mistakes. Especially in today’s world, information spread extremely fast, companies also need to prepare the reactions to the reputation problems online.

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