The Cathay pacific scandal leading the headlines in the recent media seems to be the spice of talks, especially, when the company was about to launch its advertising campaign with a slogan “Meet the people who go an extra mile to make you feel comfortable”. Photos of two employees; a pilot and a stewardess, probably around the cockpit area, in a compromising position leaks in the online media, just before the company was planning to release its campaign. While most people and even seniors of corporate would take an action to fire or ask the employees to resign from work, I would instead consider applying a much safer strategy, which can heal the present media hype and be considered positive for a long term brand building.
Considering the eyes of the shareholders and other employees on the decision maker, it will be a challenge indeed but then, under situations like this, I would prefer to apply the teachings of the martial art of jujitsu – where one is also taught to transform weakness into strengths. So while most would want to get away or finish off with the wrong media hype and yet it seems it’s just not happening, I’d suggest going with it and trying turning the weakness into strengths. This reminds me of the Presidential debate during 1984, when President Reagan was grilled about his age. Instead of ducking the question, Reagan took the problem and turned it on its head: “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience”.
Now that is a lovely example of jujitsu.
Remember, the bigger your brand, the more you can offer to your prospects and clients. The more the critiques would want to pull you down and, the higher your chances to play with the options around you. It’s important to understand, admit and work with the situations and opportunities, than to go with the tide of the critique and end up being nowhere. Cathay Pacific is a much older brand in the business of airlines, and therefore, can stand up to the present media hype, because of its long standing relationship and offer mix towards it consumers.
The little that I know about Richard Branson, a British business magnate, best known for his Virgin group of over 400 companies, including Virgin airlines, would have surely applied the jujitsu technique of this situation and turned it around for a long term brand building for his Virgin airlines.
Name: Mohinder Pal Singh
August 24, 2011