What can be learned from Zomato’s PR Debacle last week !
Zomato has been loved by all foodies, great layout, ease of use and positive user engagement has all been hugely admired. It has been the poster child for startup ecosystem and has even gone to the extent of acquiring urban spoon in USA. Last Few weeks have seen a negative sentiment growing about the brand. Well it all started with visibly ill conceived logo. It was a PR disaster to start with as lot of people compared it with the likes of Sperm. One particular tweet that got Viral was from Tanmay Bhat and it got a nice rebuttal from Zomato.
So far so good, But it was start of fire with a lot of people posting comments about how they hate the Zomato logo. Google trend shows upward curve on people discussing about Zomato Logo. If we go by AAP’s marketing hand book All publicity is Good and even though people didn’t like the logo it was all in good humor. All hell broke loose when the CEO decided to do an AMA on Reddit. We all know Reddit can be brutal and all I can say that Mr Deepinder Goyal (@ deepigoyal on reddit) didn’t timed it right. The AMA was killed with huge negative posts leading up to a -100 comment karma for deepigoyal. For the uninitiated negative karma equals dislikes.
The AMA lead to a few other negative posts related to the Zomato not being a great place to work, With people even posting horrible experiences in working for Zomato. Check out this post where the reddit user writes in length about the work environment in Zomato. This has fueled an even greater debate where people are accusing Zomato to be moocher whereby they thrived on open source and stopped supporting open code.
There have been some really stupid attempts by the Zomato PR machinery to downplay the over all issue, with articles like http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/zomato-ceos-reddit-ama-is-the-funniest-thing-ever-read-enjoy-746540 on NDTV clearly shows the research gone behind this. The author of this piece has been both ignorant and this reads like shabby PR work.
So the takeaway from this is that Internet can be a punishing place, its fairly easy to take one wrong step and it all becomes quick sand. I don’t see it to be a long term damage to the brand zomato as people will still continue to use what is a fantastic product. But the allegations like bad work environment and poor ethics will discourage good talent from opting for Zomato. It could be handled wisely but alas this has been a mockery of brand communication exercise.