Latest update on Eiger saga here
Yesterday the outdoor adventure gear brand Eiger got into a hot mess when its Leagal Eagle went a step too far and dissed off YouTubers reviewing their products. (See post here)
By late afternoon the Eiger CEO Ronny Lukito had had enough and decided to take matters into his own hands. He apologized for his Legal Eagle’s letter with his own letter.
All good apologizing but you have to wonder who is advising him on the PR front because the apology was not really an apology. When this happens it usually invites ongoing resentment and possible future attacks.
He started the latter with an apology to the community. He then admitted that the offending letter that had gone viral had indeed been sent by Eiger and they realize that this was a wrong and inappropriate action. So far so good.
Then he had to say that the original intent of the letter was to provide input to the reviewer so they can improve. Bang! Another shot in the foot. Although he tried to paper over the hole with “we realise that how we conveyed that was wrong”, he had stumbled.
This is what communicators classify as mixed messages. It’s when observations, inferences, feelings and wants are jumbled up.
Here it would have been fine if he said that whet they did was wrong, he as CEO takes responsibility for the act, he’s sorry for all the frustrations and angst caused. Instead he went on to explain their intent which still sounds patronizing, because its an outdoor gear maker telling a YouTuber how to improve shooting review videos.
Lukito also left out a vital element of apologies in crisis-like moments. He failed to say what action he’s taking to make sure that this does not happen again. Without stating this he is giving the impression that the company is not taking responsibility for the incident and not interested to learn from their mistakes. At worst, many would think that they will get back to business as usual once this kerfuffle is over.
All this leaves the company open to more criticism if the opportunity arises.
Lo and behold, the opportunity came this morning when some Netizens uncovered an incident where the legal department of Eiger asked the giant online e-commerce site to take down a reseller’s product posting of a Sritex face mask. And Tokopedia complied!
Now it looks like Eiger has not only shot itself on the foot but is also extending its foot fetish toTokopedia.
Like I said yesterday, I think Eiger makes great products. It has also been quite smart and savvy in its design and branding. It is now the victims of its own success but it is something that it can easily fix by seeking professional help.
It takes skill and experience to communicate well. To entrust it to a legal flunky is being careless with your hard worn reputation as it takes skill and experience to communicate well, with authenticity and ethically.
They should seek professional help in the short term while they look to hire an experienced communicator in-house expressly for reputation all management.
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